Brazil coach Dunga apologises for race comment

SAO PAULO: Brazil coach Dunga apologised on Friday after his comments about people of African descent sparked criticism ahead of the team's Copa America quarter-final against Paraguay.

Dunga was asked to compare the pressure on his Copa America team with that of the side he captained to win the 1994 World Cup, Brazil's first triumph in 24 years.

"Everything we did was bad," he said, referring to criticism of his 1994 squad. "I even think I am an Afro-descendent because I get hit so much. People look at me and think, I'll have a go at him."

The comments provoked a storm on social media with some calling them racist while others said they acknowledged reality.

Dunga later said in a statement published on the website of the Brazilian Football Confederation: "I want to apologise to all those could have felt offended with my comment about Afro-descendents.

"The way I expressed myself does not reflect my feelings or opinions."

Father David, head of Educafro, an organisation that aims to get blacks into higher education, said the comments reflected the injustices suffered by blacks in Brazil.

"I'd like to congratulate him for telling Brazil and the world that blacks here are hit simply for being black," he told Reuters. "He is affirming what we know, that being black in Brazil is to suffer injustice.

"However, I challenge him to show me to one black that likes to be hit. I have never found any in the 30 years I have worked with the black community."