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Rediff.com  » Sports » Former Brazil coach Santana dies

Former Brazil coach Santana dies

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April 22, 2006 14:04 IST

Tele Santana, one of Brazil's greatest coaches, died on Friday aged 74 in a Belo Horizonte hospital where he had been in intensive care for an intestinal infection since March 25, the hospital said.

Santana, who led Brazil at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups and won the Libertadores Cup twice in a row with Sao Paulo, was widely respected for his sense of fair play and his refusal to use rough-arm tactics.

"Football is art, it's enjoyment and it's not about hoofing the ball upfield," he said. "I'd rather lose the game than tell my team to foul, kick the opponents or win with an illegitimate goal."

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva led the tributes.

"Tele always maintained that football should be played elegantly, skillfully and with respect for the opposition," he said in a statement, adding that artistic football practised by the "master" would inspire future generations.

Brazil captain Cafu, who played under Santana in the early days of his career at Sao Paulo, also paid tribute to him.

"He was a great man, a great friend and a father-like figure, who kept giving us great advice," said Cafu, who become the first player to appear in three successive World Cup finals.

Former Brazil midfielder Rai played in the same Sao Paulo team in the early 1990s and said Santana changed his career.

"He represented a watershed in my career and made me see that I could give a lot more, that I needed ambition to bring out the best in me," said Rai, the younger brother of 1986 World Cup midfielder Socrates.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira added: "Tele left a marvellous legacy. He was an example to be followed, not just as a coach but as a person.

"He was tough when he needed to be but he also knew how to listen to what the players had to say. He will go down in history as one of the best coaches that Brazil has had."

SHOCK DEFEAT

Former Brazil winger Renato Portaluppi, axed by Santana for indiscipline shortly before the squad departed for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, said: "It's a great loss for football and for Brazil. He was one of the great coaches."

Santana's 1982 World Cup team, featuring players like Zico, Socrates, Falcao, Junior and Eder took the game to new heights.

But they were surprisingly knocked out in the second round group stage following a 3-2 defeat by Italy in one of the most memorable games in the sport's history.

After a brief spell in Saudi Arabia, Santana returned to lead Brazil again four years later in Mexico where they were beaten by France in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals.

He went on to coach a memorable Sao Paulo team in the early 1990s, winning the South American Libertadores Cup in successive years and the World Club Cup on each occasion.

He steered Atletico Mineiro to success in the inaugural Brazilian championship in 1971 -- the only time Belo Horizonte's most popular team have been Brazilian champions -- and coached top clubs Fluminense, Flamengo, Palmeiras and Gremio.

He was forced to retire in 1996 following a stroke. Three years ago, Santana had his left leg amputated below the knee after developing ischemia -- a decrease in blood supply caused by blockage of the blood vessels.

 

Source:
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