By Stephen Wade ,AP
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil is bringing back Dunga to coach the national soccer team, four years after he was fired from the same job.
Tuesday’s hiring comes two weeks after Brazil was eliminated from the World Cup in a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals.
The 50-year-old Dunga replaces Luiz Felipe Scolari, who resigned last week after Brazil failed to win soccer’s premier event on its home soil.
It could be a difficult road for the former defensive midfielder. Several polls released in the last few days show he is highly unpopular, by margins of at least 3-to-1.
“When it comes to the survey, we have to overcome that,” Dunga said. “I think they (fans) will eventually understand the work we are planning, and I don’t feel rejected … I’m not going to change people’s mind set, but I will change the way people think about me.”
He also brought up the name of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
“Without firing a gun, he changed how people thought about him,” Dunga added.
The Brazilian soccer confederation (CBF) confirmed the appointment during a news conference at its headquarters in suburban Rio de Janeiro, but gave no details about salary. CBF President Jose Maria Marin indicated he wanted Dunga to continue until the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Dunga gave a blunt evaluation of Brazil’s situation.
“We’re no longer the best,” he said. “We’re all aware of this. We can’t tell our fans that we’re the best.”
He was the captain of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup-winning team, and coached the national team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He was dismissed after Brazil lost 2-1 in the quarterfinals to the Netherlands.
“He has shown his capacity to lead the Brazil team, not only in words but also in numbers, that he has all the requisites and the capacity to lead the Brazil team again,” confederation president Jose Maria Marin said. “It was a decision made with the participation of everyone here at this table in a show of unity and total integration aimed at great conquests in the future.”
Dunga’s returned was linked to the naming of Gilmar Rinaldi as the new technical director, replacing Carlos Alberto Parreira. Rinaldi, who sat next to Dunga on Tuesday, was a goalkeeper on the ’94 team and has recently worked as a player agent.
Dunga was in charge of 60 matches as national team coach in his first stint. Brazil won 42, drew 12 and lost six.