Brazil 2002 veterans defend Dunga's isolation plans

By Pedro Fonseca

CURITIBA, Brazil (Reuters) - Midfielders Gilberto Silva and Kleberson, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, have defended coach Dunga's plans to keep the squad preparing for the 2010 finals isolated from fans and media.

While the so-called "Scolari Family" were free to move around at will and talk to reporters in their hotel at the South Korea/Japan finals, Dunga's squad have been confined to their training base with a minimum of contact with media.

"They are different trainers, each has a work philosophy, Felipao (Big Phil) and Dunga, despite both being 'gauchos' (from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul)," said Kleberson, overlooked for the 2006 finals.

Dunga's policy of isolation is a reaction to the freedom the team had under Carlos Alberto Parreira in the countdown to the 2006 finals in Germany where Brazil were eliminated in the quarter-finals.

Fans have been barred from training sessions and Dunga sends just two players out per day to talk to reporters.

Gilberto, who was in the team that disappointed in Germany, said Dunga sought what was best for the squad.


"I don't see a barrier, if the journalists who are here today were accompanying another national team out there they'd have even greater difficulties to find news," he said.

"We're also experienced after what happened in 2006."

"We're already used to criticism in relation to the midfielders. The important thing when we go after our objectives is that it doesn't matter who's playing," said Gilberto.

Asked about the absence of Ronaldinho and Santos's Ganso, Kleberson said: "Brazil have excellent players, we know only 23 players can be called up. I worked hard to gain the coach's confidence to be here."

The squad have been based in Curitiba since Friday and began physical training on Sunday after having medical tests during the first two days.

They leave for South Africa on Wednesday with a stop in Brasilia where they will be received by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Brazil, who will be based in Johannesburg, face North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal in Group G at the finals starting on June 11.

(Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; Editing by Sonia Oxley)