KEIR RADNEDGE from SAO PAULO
— Brazilian football supremo Jose Maria Marin has angrily rejected sniping from critics that the change of national coach had been dictated from within government.
Last Friday the Brazilian football confederation announced that Mano Menezes had been sacked and that the appointment of a successor would not be announced until early in the new year.
However , on Thursday, 2002 World Cup-winning boss Luiz Felipe Scolari was presented by the CBF as its new national coach with Carlos Alberto Parreira as co-ordinator.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday that the world federation had impressed upon Marin the need to have a new national coach at tomorrow’s Confederations Cup draw.
Blatter denied influencing Marin over the identity of that coach but observers noted that Scolari had been acting as a part-time consultant to Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo ever since being dismissed in August from his coaching role with Palmeiras.
Scolari’s political connection was merely coincidental, according to Marin, the former senior vice-president of the CBF who succeeded self-exiled Ricardo Teixeira in the lead role last March.
He said: “I am absolute sure that all my colleagues will endorse my statement that the choice of a Brazil national coach lies entirely with the Brazilian football confederation. I take full responsibility. I don’t want to share it with anybody else.
“As the president of football in Brazil, a country which has five times achieved the title of world champions, I have the courage to totally accept, clearly and transparently, that I chose the coach for the Brazilian national team as well as the co-ordinator.
“I believe that Luiz Felipe Scolari has all the necessary requirements that a Brazil coach must possess and, more important, the support of the Brazilian population.”
Marin’s insistence on responsibility is a two-edged sword: it will either come back to bite him – hard – or it will secure him status as national hero if Brazil do win the World Cup in 2014.
In the meantime, he was equally insistent that Brazil would dispel all doubts over its preparations for its hosting of the Confederations Cup next year and the World Cup finals.
He said: “I have no doubt in saying and assuring you that, within the schedule presented, Brazil will show everybody it is meeting not only all the requirements set by FIFA but also demonstrating its ability, its competence, in being able to organise a great World Cup.”
Marin’s confidence appears to have won over Blatter.
FIFA’s president responded: “When I listen to the determination of the organising committee and also see the report with their deadlines and the roadmap to the Confederations Cup and later to the World Cup it gives me the confidence that everything will be ready in time.
“Not everything will be perfect because perfection does not exist but it will be ready on time, I am sure.”
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