They once faced off in the FIFA World Cup™ as players and now both Dunga and Diego Maradona will be competing for a place in one football's most exclusive clubs when the game's greatest show gets under way later this week.

For the coaches of Brazil and Argentina, victory in South Africa would make them only the third man to have lifted the Trophy as both player and coach, following in the footsteps of Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer.

Zagallo was the first to achieve the feat, winning the Jules Rimet Trophy with Brazil in 1958 and '62 then overseeing his country's triumph in 1970. Beckenbauer followed him into the pantheon by captaining West Germany to victory on home soil in 1974 and then coaching Die Nationalmannschaft when they prevailed at Italy 1990.

That was the same FIFA World Cup where Maradona and Dunga met on the field of play, with the former coming out on top after his killer pass set up Claudio Caniggia to score the only goal of that second-round meeting between the two South American super powers.

It was four years earlier that Maradona captained Argentina to the world crown while Dunga's turn came four years later. Whether either man can replicate those triumphs from the dugout remains to be seen – and Maradona's efforts will be scrutinised with particular fascination – but their experiences should at least stand them in good stead and the same applies to the six other coaches in South Africa with experience of playing on the sport's biggest stage.

Korea Republic's Huh Jung-Moo appeared against Maradona at Mexico 86, man-marking the Argentina No10, and scored for his country against Italy. Denmark coach Morten Olsen played at that same tournament for the 'Danish dynamite' team that reached the last 16, while Mexico's Javier Aguirre was the midfield anchorman for the host nation.

Slovakia's Vladimir Weiss played one game for the former Czechoslovakia in 1990. It was the final group fixture against Italy who, by coincidence will be the Slovakians' last opponents in Group F. New Zealand's Ricki Herbert was a member of the only previous Kiwi squad to have reached the finals back in 1982.

England's Fabio Capello, meanwhile, is the sole coach in South Africa to have represented another country at a FIFA World Cup – he played for Italy at the 1974 finals. Capello is by no means the first man to have played for one country at the tournament and coached another, though. His adopted nation cannot face Italy before the semi-finals but if this were to happen it would not be the first time either.

In 2006, Ricardo La Volpe, a reserve goalkeeper for Argentina in '78, led Mexico into a last-16 contest with La Albiceleste. In 1970, Didi - a member of Brazil's 1958 and '62 teams – guided Peru to a quarter-final meeting with his old team-mate Zagallo's Seleção. As with La Volpe, he lost out to his native country.

Of course, FIFA World Cup success as a player brings no guarantee of a repeat performance as a manager. Italy 1990 winner Jurgen Klinsmann fell just short with Germany when they hosted the finals four years ago. Guillermo Stabile, top scorer in the inaugural tournament in 1930, saw his Argentina side finish bottom of their first-round group in 1958.

By contrast, sometimes painful experience as a player can serve a coach well. When England and USA last met in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 1950, Alf Ramsey was part of the English side embarrassed 1-0 by the American part-timers. Ramsey learned from the lessons of England's failed maiden campaign and 16 years later steered them to the world crown.