Santana says language not a handicap


The Portuguese-speaking Santana is limited when it comes to communicating in English, but says he is not worried about that.

“How possible was it to work for four clubs in Saudi Arabia and also in Japan? Of course I didn’t speak Portuguese there,” responds Santana through Supersport United commercial manager Jose Ferreira – the interpreter on the day.

“Football is a universal game. Sometimes you don’t even have to say a lot in going about your duties, but just work a lot.

“At times you don’t really say anything to get the best out of a player. It is important to first listen and then speaking. I didn’t learn football through the book but was as a player first before finding myself where I am now.

“I played football first but had to stop at 30. I then worked my way up from the youth teams right through to where I am now,” says Santana adding that he has a liking for African football.

“African football is growing and the quality of an African footballer is unique and great,” he says.

Typically nomadic as a Brazilian coach in the South America domestic league, Santana believes his travels within his native country are no reason to make Bafana worry.

“The life of a coach is to go from place to place. If I go through all the teams I have coached and the titles that I have won it will take eternity. But I am here to work.

“If together we get the tactical and technical aspects going then we will have a good World Cup,” says Santana, who traveled through South Africa once when he was a club coach.

Santana also reiterated at the press conference yesterday that his appointment as Bafana Bafana coach is not a challenge but rather a gift being delivered to him since he was born on Christmas Day.

Santana also took time to speak about his connections with Carlos Alberto Parreira – the man that he succeeds.

“I have known Parreira for more than 20 years and on numerous occasions he asked me to work with him while he was with the Saudi Arabia national team. He knows my life and what kind of person I am in professional football. I learnt my coaching training in the same faculty as Parreira in Rio de Janeiro.

“I cannot let Parreira down after entrusting me with the job. Could Parreira have suggested a person he doesn’t trust? He knows many people in football and some are better than me, but he has belief in me. And for that I don’t want to let him down,” said Santana.