Santana steps down as SAfrica coach after losses

Joel Santana quit as South Africa coach on Monday after failing to turn around the footballing fortunes of the 2010 World Cup’s host nation.

The South African Football Association said its management committee and Santana had “unanimously agreed” that the Brazilian would leave the job “with immediate effect.”

An indication of who might take over is expected to emerge at the association’s executive meeting to be held Friday.

Fans and commentators have criticized the 60-year-old Santana after South Africa lost to Iceland last week. It was the team’s eighth loss in nine matches since June.

Santana, who earned a reported US$200,000 a month, was appointed in April last year to replace fellow Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira, who resigned to be with his ill wife.

The former Flamengo coach was seen as a miracle-worker for his success with the Brazilian club, however there was concern at the time of his appointment over his lack of international experience.

Critics say Santana has also been hampered by his lack of fluent English.

The South Africa team has been in disarray with less than a year to the World Cup and there have been calls for a local coach to be hired.

South Africans have high expectations of fielding a team worthy of the country hosting the World Cup finals.

After all, the host nation has reached a World Cup final eight times.

In the most recent editions, Germany finished third when it hosted in 2006. South Korea reached the semifinals against all odds when co-hosting with Japan in 2002, while France won the title at home in 1998.