RIO DE JANEIRO - Former South Africa coach
Joel Santana was sacked by Cruzeiro on Friday, less than three
months after taking charge, in the 28th coaching change in
Brazil's first division this season.
Cruzeiro immediately promoted Emerson Avila, coach of
Brazil's under-17 team, as his successor, while former Jamaica
World Cup coach Rene Simoes was sacked by Bahia who are one
point above the relegation zone.
Atletico Paranaense completed another change with
70-year-old Antonio Lopes starting his fifth spell in place of
former Brazil striker Renato Portaluppi, who quit after 14
matches leaving the team one from bottom.
Cruzeiro, who started the season as favourites for the South
American Copa Libertadores and Brazilian championship but have
disappointed in both, sacked Santana after 15 matches - eight
wins and seven defeats. They are 11th in the standings with 27
points from 20 games.
"I was shocked... I'm really surprised by the decision
taken. Brazilian football still has this kind of situation. My
feeling is one of not having been able to complete a cycle I'd
like to complete," the 62-year-old Santana told reporters.
Avila, 44, was already on Cruzeiro's coaching staff when he
took charge of Brazil's under-17 team last year. He steered them
to the semi-finals of the under-17 world championship in Mexico
Paranaense have the hottest seat in the Brazilian first
division with the appointment of Lopes, a former policeman and
assistant to Luiz Felipe Scolari with Brazil's 2002 World
Cup-winning team, their fifth of the year. He saved the club
from relegation in 2009.
Only four of the 20 first-division teams have the same coach
as they did at the beginning of the season.
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