Brazilian bankers upset as Big Phil Scolari puts his big foot in it

Nov 30, 2012

Brazil are ‘obliged’ to win the 2014 World Cup, says Scolari – but can he do it with this young side?

Getty Images

LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI, better known as 'Big Phil', has not had the greatest start as the new coach – for the second time in his career – of the Brazil national football team.

On his first day back in the job, tasked with winning the 2014 World Cup on home turf, he's managed to anger the country’s bank workers by suggesting that any players in his squad who can’t take the pressure should "go and work work in the Bank of Brazil, or outside on the corner or sit in an office and do nothing".

Brazil’s union of bank workers, Contraf, said Scolari's comments were disrespectful, reports the BBC. More than 1,000 financial sector employees leave their jobs every month for health reasons, according to Contraf, so heavy is the pressure on staff because of bank targets. "We hope that he [Scolari] is not so out of date about football as he is about work in banks."

Big Phil, who later apologised to the union, may not know how tough it is to be a bank worker, but he certainly understands the expectations of the Brazilians. He won them the World Cup in 2002 and he’s expected to do the same again in 2014.

"We have the obligation to win the title," he said. "We are not favourites at the moment but we intend to become favourites during the competition. Third or fourth place is no good for a country that has won five World Cups."

As the Scotsman reports, Scolari has inherited a young side with little experience. There is no certainty they can repeat the triumph achieved by Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Cafu, to name but three of the 2002 side.

Since 2002, Scolari has spent the interim managing the Portugal national side from 2003 to 2008, when he joined Chelsea as one of Roman Abramovich’s short-lived managers – he lasted just seven months.

Neither role brought him trophies, which made the sudden announcement of his return to managing Brazil, in place of Mano Menezes, all the more surprising.

Sign up for our daily newsletter