Dunga backs wavering stars

IMPLACABLE Brazilian coach Dunga said after the laboured 2-1 World Cup win over the surprisingly resolute North Koreans at Ellis Park on Tuesday night that everyone was entitled to his own preference as to how soccer should be played and who should play it.

IMPLACABLE Brazilian coach Dunga said after the laboured 2-1 World Cup win over the surprisingly resolute North Koreans at Ellis Park on Tuesday night that everyone was entitled to his own preference as to how soccer should be played and who should play it.

"My own preference, he said a little glibly, if not unexpectedly, "is for winning."

And the former Brazil captain has proved particularly adept at achieving this objective since taking over at the helm of "The Samba Kings" - losing only five of 50 games, annexing the 2009 Confederations Cup as well as the South American Championship, and heading South America's World Cup qualifying segment.

Now, however, questions are being raised as to whether the inscrutable Dunga is not going too far in following his own particular star to glory, while making a string of questionable selection decisions for the World Cup, including the inexplicable omission of the multi-talented and revitalised Ronaldinho.

But in choosing basically the same 'shadow' team for the opening World Cup game that he assembled for last year's Confederations Cup, Dunga seems to have overlooked the fact that:

His main kingpin, Kaka is still not fully fit and is performing well below his own accepted high standards;

l Robinho was thought superfluous to the relatively less modest needs of Manchester City;

l Felipe Melo has regularly been booed by his own Juventus supporters; and

l Elano possesses none of Ronaldinho's genius and ability to orchestrate a midfield with uncanny vision and skill.

Dunga, nevertheless, has elected to stick by last year's champions for this year's World Cup task - a gamble, it would seem, that will in one way or another shape his future. - Sapa

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