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Coronavirus in sport: World Cup winner Dunga leads the fight in Brazil


Bengaluru, April 8: As the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads gradually in Brazil, former World Cup winner Dunga is one of the many athletes from the country involved in various community initiatives to combat the pandemic.

Dunga, who was the captain of Brazil's 1994 World Cup-winning side is working with business contacts and former players including Jorginho, Edmilson and Paulo Cesar Tinga to help disadvantaged communities in his home state of Rio Grande do Sul.

The ex-Internacional and Fiorentina midfielder has run a charitable foundation for many years, helping orphanages, old folks' homes and social projects.

In the last few days the 56-year-old has persuaded supermarket owners, food producers and transportation companies to donate and distribute more than 10 tons of food to local charities as more people suffer due to the virus.

"We saw that there're a lot of people who aren't working and they don't have food. So I called the friends I still play football with and said let's do something," Dunga told Reuters news agency.

Dunga has spent much of his spare time over the last week not just calling friends asking for help but also loading boxes of produce into trucks and delivering fruit and vegetables to local charities.

His closest helpers are former players, but some active professionals have also contributed.

Argentinian midfielder Andres D'Alessandro, who plays for Porto Alegre side Internacional, was with him as they loaded sacks of produce into cars and trucks.

Local media have also reported that Brazilian internationals Neymar, Roberto Firmino and Paulinho have also contributed in their home states.

Dunga encouraged more to get involved.

"We ex-players still've doors open to us. Imagine what the players who're active today could do," Dunga added.

Canto's contribution

Olympic judo medallist Flavio Canto is among other Brazilian athletes who have joined hands to battle the coronavirus outbreak.

A bronze medallist in the men's 81kg category in Athens, Canto is raising funds for a project that will give a monthly stipend to thousands of families in Rio and Cuiaba who are under quarantine or suffering financially due to unemployment or the need to self-isolate.

"My charity has 20 years of experience in that field and the other athletes are people with the same profile, who've experience in charity work and therefore credibility," said Canto.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 12:22 [IST]
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