Where is the ‘order and progress’ in Brazil re-hiring Dunga?


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The Brazilian national flag is unique in including, in text, two ideals the country purports to uphold.

One is order, the other progress.


A whistle-stop tour through the history books - colonisation, slavery, corruption - reveals that, at various points in this country's short, fraught history, one or other of the two has not always been perfectly preserved.

Sport, of course, has a funny way of echoing or mirroring society at large, and so Brazil's football history has been peppered with its fair share of ignominy in between the dizzying highs.

At times there has been order; at others progress; but rarely have the two gone hand-in-hand.

Since the 1980s, the Seleção has been run on the premise that, in order to win, it is best to first reduce the risk of losing. After the progressive football of the 1982 side came to nought (at least in terms of silverware), it was decided that order should come first.

Call it the end of jogo bonito, call it what you will.

"Magic and dreams are dead in football," declared Carlos Alberto Parreira, before embarking on a quest to fulfil his own prophecy in 1994.

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More recently, the choice of national team coaches has veered between the two ideals.

Ahead of the 2010 World Cup there was Dunga: order. Then the up-and-coming Mano Menezes, who blooded Neymar: tentative progress. Next, after that project stalled, Luiz Felipe Scolari returned to the fold a decade after winning the 2002 Copa: order.

If Brazilians had hoped for change in the wake of the disappointment in South Africa, they positively craved it after their own World Cup had ended in such staggering shame.

Against Germany, the Seleção were humiliated, hang out to dry by a country that has embraced sporting modernity where Brazil has buried its head in the ground.

For all the pain, many hoped the shock would spark fundamental change: investment in youth development and coaching; more cooperation between clubs and country; a clear-out of the corrupt skeletons that still rattle around in Brazil's footballing closet.

It should have been a time to reflect, to investigate. Set up a think tank, ask experts and past players about the best course of action. Take a few months, a year even. The temporary flux would be a small price to pay.

Instead, CBF president José Maria Marin and his successor-in-waiting, Marco Polo Del Nero, acted swiftly, appointing Gilmar Rinaldi as national team coordinator.

If you just said "Who?", you're not alone.

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"You imagined they'd go for someone with the calibre of Falcão, Zico, Júnior, Raí, Leonardo or Zinho," sighed Artero Greco in the Estado de São Paulo. "One of those names would have at least put the public at ease."

Gilmar, really, was a signal of what was to come. The former goalkeeper is a good friend and ally of Dunga, who instantly became favourite for the coaching vacancy.

Days later, barely a week after the World Cup, he was confirmed as the new Brazil boss.

He began his reign with a press conference in which he quoted Nelson Mandela and name checked someone called Enrico Sacchi. The collective groan from Brazil's media could almost be heard from this side of the Atlantic.

They would be more forgiving, of course, had Dunga's first spell not been characterised by stultifying, reactionary football.

"Brazilian managers don't train teams, they only prepare for games," fumed André Kfouri in Lance!. "They don't develop players, they just use them. The Seleção needs a coach. Dunga is far from that."

The appointment, then, feels like a rush job, something to deflect the attention away from Marin and his cronies. It is almost impossible to see it having a long-term positive effect on the first team, let alone at other levels.

Order and progress? Not so much. This is more a case of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Jack Lang covered all things Brazil out in the host nation during the World Cup, and as ever will be providing weekly articles on the home of samba football.

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