JOHANNESBURG, June 14 – Brazil coach Dunga has been accused of giving his side a fourth World Cup opponent – the massed ranks of the country's football media.Reporters were up in arms on Sunday after Dunga banned reporters from training for the third time in a week, just two days before the South Americans face North Korea in their World Cup opener.
Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) official Rodrigo Paiva announced the decision amid speculation of a spat between players Daniel Alves and Julio Baptista on Friday after training.
But whatever the cause the 400-odd reporters who try to keep tabs on the aquad’s every move were decidedly unimpressed.
Relations have been fractious since Dunga took charge of the team in 2006.
Even though he has been successful in lifting the Copa America and Confederations Cup the media see the 1994 World Cup-winning skipper as a cautious individual whose team lacks flair.
Earlier this month Dunga complained "we have some 300 reporters from Brazil who are hoping we won’t win so that they can say they were right when they said he (Dunga) got lucky for the Copa America and Confederations Cup victories".
Luis Prosperi, from Sao Paolo daily Jornal da Tarde, told AFP: "There are almost 400 reporters following Brazil and Dunga decided to create an unneccessary quarrel by making Saturday and Sunday training behind closed doors affairs right at the last minute. That didn’t suit anyone.
"Dunga will have his motives – maybe to protect the team – but I don’t understand as this is not a tradition with Brazil (to keep the press out).
"He has chosen the media as his main rival – not North Korea, Portugal or Ivory Coast," charged Prosperi.
Ari Ferreira, a photographer with Lance! sports daily, added that "Dunga must have problems with the press – I don’t know if with a particular person or everybody. But he has problems. It is very complicated to work around closed sessions. You don’t win matches like this."
Eduardo Nicolau, a photographer with O Estado de Sao Paulo daily, added that "we are having major problems. We can’t arrange our schedule to cover other things and it’s making things tough on a daily basis."
And Marcos Paulo Lima, of Correio Braziliense daily, believes that Dunga’s tactics could backfire as "it increases the risk of speculation".