Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Brazil have appointed a new coach.

Or an old coach.

A new old coach.

He will return to the position he vacated after the 2010 World Cup saw his reign squashed flat against a Spectoresque wall of Brazilian voices appealing for a more aesthetic brand of football than produced by his first iteration of the Seleçao.

Dunga made the men in canary yellow hard to beat, a team said to be very much one in his own image. That this appointment comes only two weeks after the home team exited the World Cup in meek fashion makes it logical to draw the conclusion that the Brazil Football Confederation saw consecutive games end with a cumulative 10-1 scoreline and hurriedly groped for the pragmatist closest to hand.

With his appointment comes the tacit admission that Brazil might find footballing perfection for the moment unattainable. Rather than employing a man who could attain perfection – as the hope was for Luis Felipe Scolari – they’ve plumped for harm minimization in that most familiar swing in coaching appointments: the polar opposite of the last unsuccessful last manager is brought just because he’s the opposite of his predecessor.

Jose Mourinho to Carlo Ancelotti. Ian Holloway to Tony Pulis. Dunga to Mano Manezes to Luis Felipe Scolari to Dunga.

Often there’s no real science to it, it’s more just a case of “what manager will make sure we don’t want to concede 10 goals in two games again”-type thinking. In fact, that kind of results-based thinking underpins more managerial appointments than it’s comfortable to consider – while football is eventually a “results” business, those end products are, more often than not, driven by process. When you consider how much of football management (and administration) are “process” businesses, to start that process with a gut reaction to horror losses isn’t necessarily the sturdiest Launchpad.

Dunga may turn Brazil once again into a force with which to be reckoned – but that would entail banishing David Luiz or teaching him to defend – but his appointment is a signal that the CBF conductive a thoroughly inexhaustive and unimaginative search.

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