Brazil coach Dunga has apologised for likening criticism directed against him at the Copa America to racist abuse suffered by people of African descent.

Dunga was comparing the pressure he faced as Brazil captain in winning the 1994 World Cup, to criticism from local media over his side’s indifferent form in reaching the Copa quarter-finals.

“I think I’m an Afro-descendant because I get hit so much.” he said on Friday.

But Dunga, 51, later said: “I apologise to those who could have felt offended.”

In a statement on the

Brazil Football Confederation website 

Dunga added: “The way I expressed myself does not reflect my feelings or opinions.”

Dunga played 91 times for his nation and is currently in his second spell as Brazil manager. He took over from Luiz Felipe Scolari following their

7-1 humiliation

on home soil against Germany in the 2014 World Cup.

He previously managed Brazil between 2006 and 2010.

Wins over

Venezuela

and

Paraguay

meant Brazil topped their Copa America group, despite a

1-0 defeat by Colombia

that saw Barcelona forward

Neymar banned from the tournament

after being sent-off for a headbutt.

Dunga’s men face Paraguay in the last eight on Saturday night and are chasing their ninth Copa America title which they last

won in 2007

.