Dunga respects mentor Santana’s Bafana

2009-06-25 00:00

BRAZIL coach Dunga expects Bafana Bafana to be inspired by the emotion of the occasion of playing in the Confederations Cup semi-final in front of their home crowd at Ellis Park tonight.

The midfield hardman, captain and schemer of Brazil’s USA 1994 World Cup-winning team, said he has great respect for Bafana coach Joel Santana.

“I played under him with Vasco da Gama and know him as a very calm person who knows what he is doing. He works in a very special way with the players. Every coach looks for the positives in players and it is the same with Santana,” Dunga said.

The Brazil coach, whose team have scored 10 goals to three on the way to the semis, said he expects a fired-up approach from Bafana at a packed Ellis Park.

“It is always difficult playing the host country. South Africa have been improving game by game, and they played well against Spain.

“They are a competitive team with African characteristics who are very fast and strong and we will try to overcome them by stamping our own personality on the game.”

Like Spain, who absorbed Bafana’s spirited attacks in a goalless first half in the teams’ final Group A game, then came out with a definite game plan after the break to win 2-0, Brazil might play a waiting game before stamping their authority.

“Every team has its own characteristics and we are going to see what South Africa are going to do on the field and then decide how we are going to approach the game,” Dunga said.

“South Africa are in the semi-finals and have to be respected. They are the host country and playing at home in front of their own supporters can give a team great emotional support.”

Dunga captained Brazil in the famous friendly against Bafana at Johannesburg Stadium in April 1996, where South Africa were 2-0 up at half-time, but lost 3-2. He was asked to compare that Bafana side with the current one.

“It is difficult to compare the sides.

“This team has many players who play outside the country. It also has a tremendous degree of responsibility because it is the host country for the Confed and next year’s World Cup.

“They are preparing for the World Cup with great seriousness, and so is our team.”

Brazil’s coach gave a thumbs-up to South Africa’s organisation of the Confed Cup.

“I think that you can always improve matters, but the stadiums we have played in have been of good quality and at a European level. For the surfaces, those that have had more games played on them have perhaps not been as good.

“All other aspects, such as the hotels and security have been perfect. This has surprised us and been a positive thing.

“When there has been a problem there has always been someone willing to rectify it.

“Everyone here in South Africa has been working hard for everything to be run as well as possible.”

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