RIO DE JANEIRO: Momentum is slowly building towards Luiz Felipe Scolari being summoned to replace Mano Menezes as manager of Brazil heading towards the country’s hosting of the Confederations Cup next year and then the subsequent 2014 World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Menezes, like any and every Brazil manager before him, has come under regular fire from fans and media and politicians for his squad selections but his tenure was seriously weakened by the failure to win Olympic Games gold in London in August.
Brazil have never won the Olympic crown, unlike southern neighbours Argentina and Uruguay. Menezes selected a powerful squad including South American Footballer of the Year Neymar but Brazil lost the final against Mexico at Wembley.
Lurking in the background now is Scolari, who was sacked by Palmeiras in September and then appointed to a nebulous ‘consultancy’ role by Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo.
Latest to join the anti-Menezes bandwagon is Joao Havelange, who remains honorary president of FIFA ahead of likely moves to remove him from the role at FIFA Congress next year because of his involvement in the decades-old ISL scandal.
Havelange laid into Menezes in an interview with the Brazilian sports website UOL Esporte. The interview was intended to be a memory trip by Havelange and not for release until the opening in March 2014 of Brazil’s new football museum.
However excerpts about Brazil’s national team were too good to keep until a time when, in any case, they would be irrelevant.
Havelange, who led the Brazilian sports confederation for the best part of two decades, described Menezes in the interview as “a moron” and warned: “If no change is made, we will get nowhere.”
He said he would prefer to see the job taken over by Scolari – who led Brazil to World Cup success in 2002 – assisted by Carlos Alberto Parreira who was Brazil’s wining manager in 1994.
Havelange added: “Total experience, two men of character, strict and upright. I can’t say anything about this one (Menezes) because I don’t know him, but he’s not achieving anything, excuse me, and we are running out of time.”
Elsewhere in the interview Havelange praised the organisation of the notorious 1936 Olympic Games in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany at which he represented Brazil as a swimmer.
He said: “I don’t want to debate the issue of the regime of that time because I have never in my whole life done politics, but I remember the organisation. It was one of the best I have seen to this day.”
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