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By ESPN Staff

Santana replaces Parreira as S.Africa coach

JOHANNESBURG, April 21 (Reuters) - Brazil's Carlos Alberto Parreira resigned as coach of 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa for personal reasons on Monday and was set to be replaced by compatriot Joel Santana.

Brazilian club Flamengo, where Santana currently coaches, said the 59-year-old had accepted an offer to step in for Parreira and coach a national side for the first time in his career.

'Joel is transferring to the South African national team after the final of the Carioca championship,' Flamengo's football vice-president Kleber Leite said on the club' swebsite.

'He told that me that he will earn in 30 months more than he has earned in the last 30 years......His dream is to coach a national team at a World Cup.'

Santana is recognised as a journeyman professional with a good track record in Brazil but little international experience, apart from brief stints with clubs in Saudi Arabia and Japan.

He told reporters at Flamengo's training camp in the mountain retreat of Teresopolis: 'I'm happy that I'm being recognised outside Brazil. It shows that my work is not all that bad.'

Parreira told a news conference in South Africa that he and the South African Football Association (SAFA) had come to an amicable decision that he will relinquish the post of head coach from May 2.

'It was a very difficult decision to make but I need to dedicate more time to my family,' he said.

'I will remain available to ensure a smooth transition until the new coach is available and I am also available for consultation as a technical advisor.

'I regret very much that it has come to this but my family needs me, especially my wife. Every human being needs to find balance between their personal and professional lives,' added the Brazilian.

Parreira, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994, had been given the job of preparing South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. He also coached Kuwait at the 1982 World Cup, United Arab Emirates in 1990, Saudi Arabia in 1998 and Brazil again in 2006.

Anxious to put together a competitive team for the tournament, South Africa had engaged Parreira in a blaze of publicity in mid-2006.

He only formally took up the job at the start of 2007, becoming the country's 14th coach in 15 years amid widespread criticism over the size of his pay packet.

Although South Africa were eliminated at the group stage of the recent African Nations Cup in Ghana, he had received extensive plaudits in recent weeks for the side's progress.

In an interview at the Nations Cup, Parreira said he found the challenge of building a South African team from scratch to be more rewarding than leading Brazil's all-star team in 2006.