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Queiroz confident of keeping South Africa job

© Reuters 2002

LISBON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - South Africa coach Carlos Queiroz is confident of keeping his job despite his team's defeat in the African Nations Cup quarter-finals, Portuguese press said on Tuesday.

The former Portugal manager was quoted as welcoming reports that he would stay on to lead South Africa at the World Cup finals where they will face Spain, Paraguay and Slovenia in Group B.

"The relationship I've had with the players and directors has always been one of trust, but it is very pleasing and honourable to hear that," Queiroz told O Jogo.

Queiroz, who led Portugal's so-called "golden boys" to World under-20 championship wins in 1989 and 1991, said he was disappointed at South Africa's 2-0 defeat to hosts Mali on Sunday.

"In the African Nations Cup we did not play as well as we could. But even though we played below par, we managed to control the best team in the tournament," Queiroz said.

Queiroz, who coached Portugal from 1991 to 1993, said he was determined that the team should learn from their mistakes and put in a good performance at the World Cup finals in June.

"What lies ahead is bigger than the shadows cast around us right now. We want to turn the shadows which besmirch our work into the strength that will lead us to be a better team," Queiroz added.

"As normal, there are some differing opinions, but the discussion or polemic has nothing to do with technical questions."

Queiroz suggested that his fiercest critics were simply after his job and that a changeover at this late stage would only unsettle the team.

"Going to the World Cup finals is a very succulent dish, so much so that some people forget their scruples," he said.

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