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Joel Natalino Santana (born on December 25, 1948, in Rio de Janeiromarker, Brazilmarker) is a Brazilian football manager and former football player, last coaching South Africa ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


Santana played his entire career as a central defender in his native Brazilmarker in the 1970s. He became best known as a player at Vasco da Gama, but failed to earn a cap with the national team. In 1980, he retired as a player and moved on to club management with Al Wasl in the United Arab Emiratesmarker. While much of his management career has been with Brazilian clubs, Santana has also coached clubs in Saudi Arabiamarker and Vegalta Sendai in Japanmarker's J-League.

Santana is one of the few managers to win Brazil's Campeonato Carioca with each of the four big clubs (Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, and Vasco da Gama). His playing style has been characterized as defensive, with the main objective of preventing the opposition from scoring.

In 2004, Santana successfully kept Vasco da Gama from relegation to the second division of Campeonato Brasileiro in his fourth stint as club manager. A year later, he was hired by Flamengo to also save them from relegation, which he did successfully. Having established a reputation as an "escape artist" capable of rescuing teams from relegation, he returned to Flamengo in 2007 with the same goal. He not only prevented relegation, but lead the Rio state club to a surprising third place finish to qualify for the 2008 Copa Libertadores.

In April 2008, Santana replaced his countryman, Carlos Alberto Parreira, as the coach of the South Africa national football team following a recommendation from Parreira himself who left the job due to personal reasons. In October 2009 Santana was dismissed from the position due to the poor results achieved by the team; most notably a streak of 8 defeats in his last 9 matches as coach of the Bafana Bafana.


Playing honors

Vasco da Gama

América de Natal

Managerial honors

Vasco da Gama






South Africa


  1. S√£o Paulo empata e adia festa do tri
  2. Recuperacao
  3. S√ľdafrika feuert gl√ľcklosen Bafana-Trainer Santana

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