Dunga:Brazen Brazilian Balls or Brazil’s Achilles heel?.

It was 7.45am, and the first person I saw was wearing one of those North Face sweaters that you wear when you go trekking or about to climb the north face of the Eiger. With this he donned a pair of boots, and a scarf. I stopped and pinched myself that I still wasn’t dreaming, that I was out of bed and on the streets of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. After I realised that it wasn’t me that was insane and that maybe the person I was looking was “out” for a few days i.e. holiers from the local “institution”,  I continued on my way to work, but then noticed there were more of these strange people wearing similar clothing. “That’s it, I’ve completely flipped” I thought to myself. I’m still in Brazil, but people are dressed in winter clothing. Did something happen during the night, did Jupiter fall in line with Mars and the sun and  and thus end up behind Uranus?, and change the global weather system for ever?. If that’s the case, maybe this means hot sunny days for Ireland; “Ma, stick the barby on!, I’ll be home in a bit”

Yes children, the weather had dropped a ‘frightening’ 6 oC. Now, this might seem like an alarming rate, but it was 28 oC, which means it was now 22 oC!  Gente, this would be considered a heat wave in Ireland,  Stephens Green Park in the centre of Dublin, would resemble an open house pig farm, and the girls would be top-less in the pavilion in Trinity College. By 6pm, the Irish pink skin would resemble rotten-tomatoes and people would be preparing themselves to call in sick the next day nursing 3rd degree burns and / or a hangover, as the sun making an appearance in Ireland is a great excuse to get drunk.

Meanwhile in freezing Brazil, there are people walking around with overcoats, scarfs and hats, I seen one women wearing gloves! Jaysus, I was still in me Havaiana flip-flops! The Brazilians are all going on like it’s the ice-age. My wife has taken down the duvet and the socks are back on at bed time, sexy stuff I tell ya. I can see the hot-water-bottle making an appearance soon. Ridiculous carry on!.

For Gods sake,ya’s are all a pack of wusses. Ye have no idea what the cold is!  go spend a week in Ireland, sure that’ll harden ya all up, I tell you. You’ll see your tan fall off in front of your yes, and before you can say “Jaysus Christ, Holy Mary Mother of God, it’s feckin freezing”, you’ll have a pint of Guinness in hand, a fiddle in the other, and you’ll be watching the late late show* while warming your cockles** in front of an open fire down at the local pub. Maybe then you’ll understand why we spend so much of our time in the bar.

But more importantly, it might just do some good for Brazil’s footballers to  train in the Emerald Isle, toughen ya all up if you want to win the world cup!. Come to think of it, maybe this is the trick to Ireland winning the (next) world cup. Maybe this is what’s hampering us from winning the competition or getting passed the 1st round. Hosting it in all these hot countries!, sure we’re not used to it, and sure after Africa, it’s going to be Brazil in 2014!. Jaysus!,  we ‘re feckt already.  Could we not change it to Iceland or  Russia or something?. Maybe this is the trick to beating the likes of Brazil, maybe this is  Brazil’s Achilles heel!. But just in case, maybe we’ll steal their Samba drums, and just to be sure to be sure, kidnap Joao Gilberto***.

But I have found a hard Brazilian man! a man who is not afraid of the cold, and is not afraid to make tough decisions, a man with brazen Brazilian balls. His name is Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri, but better known as Dunga, or in English Dopey. Yes, as in the smallest of the seven dwarfs, a name given to him by his uncle as he thought he would never grow very tall. Well he may not have grown physically, but he did end up playing football for his country, and is now the national coach, if that’s not stature enough, well then may God himself strike me down while I’m having a warm shower after spending a day walking around in the cold Brazilian weather.

Dunga announced his squad of 23 last week for the 2010 World cup. He went completely against the grain and didn’t select anybody that he was supposed to. The majority of the country is flipping out. Brazilians generally don’t “flip-out”, nor do they get angry, wound-up, fed-up, or any other type of “up” for that matter, except maybe get-up, (and even that’s asking a lot). But this is about football people, and it’s a quite a different matter.  There may be anarchy.

Well the “crazy” thing he has decided to do was to select the players that have continuously played well with Brazil and have always supported him. The players that played well club level but didn’t perform well for the national team, he has decided to drop.

“Right, so, erm, ahem, what seems to be the problem then?”

“Well the problem is that the guys that haven’t played well for the team are; Ronaldinho (the guy with the teeth), and as the local paper put it “the 2 best players in Brazilian football today”, i.e. the Santos team-mates Neymar and Ganso”

“Oh right, I see. Well…they obviously don’t deserve to make the team and the other players do, right? and anyway Ronaldinho is always partying”

“I agree with you, but if you ask the majority of Brazilians, they’ll give you the same answer; “It’s Ronaldinho and the other guys have scored more goals this season than anybody else””

“But Dunga has always done things differently. In the early 90’s, he was never liked as a player, because he didn’t reflect the fluidity or the fancy type football that Brazil was famous for, he played more like a European footballer…i.e. boring”

“Well, he is half German”.


“And half Italian”

“Oh, poor bastard”

“But then he captained Brazil to win the world cup in ’94, and sure all was forgiven then”.

“Typical isn’t it?!”

“Well, if he manages a world cup victory, he’ll be a hero again. Sure maybe this is what Brazil needs, to do things differently ya know, and get a head of the game for a change. I’m speaking metaphorically of course”

“Ah… change you mean?!”


“Like when the caterpillar changes into the butterfly”

“Thats metamorphosis ya eejit, I said metaphorically!. What that means is I’m not only speaking about football. Listen, with the Crisis raging across Europe and the US, who are the power-house countries now? India, China, and us.. Brazil. Maybe it’s time for a wake up call you know? time to put down the cerveja, get off the beach, put on some clothes,  and get on with things”

“Erm… yeah right, I agree!”

“At the end of the day, I say fair ball to the Dunga, he’s taking a risk, and sure you know what they say;  ‘He who dares…wins’”

“And if he doesn’t win. Well, auld Dopey face might as well jump in beside his sleeping beauty, because when he’s kicked out of his job, that’s all he’ll be doing…sleeping”

“You’re right there. Now listen, are we going for a cerveja or 3 or wha?”

“Sure of course we are, what else are we going to do in BH? there’s no beach”.


*Late late show; the worlds longest running chat show, started in 1962, an Irish claim to fame!

**Cockles; slang for testicles

*** Joan Gilberto; one of the founders of Bossa nova. i.e. unkidnapable.



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