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HomeDStv PremiershipArthur Zwane - Why I'm Grateful To Pele

Arthur Zwane – Why I’m Grateful To Pele

Kaizer Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane has paid tributes to the great Pele, who passed away a few days ago, saying he was the reason why he signed for Brazilian side Santos in 1996.

Zwane’s move to Santos was initiated by Dr Jomo Sono, who played with Pele in the ‘80s for New York Cosmos in the US.

The Chiefs coach was on a five-day trial at Santos, but on the third day, he was told by Pele that he’s not going back to Mzansi and they are signing him.   

It meant Zwane missed the big year in South African football as Bafana hoisted the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on home soil, with Pele informing Zwane about Mzansi’s sole triumph.   

“When I arrived in Brazil because I was on trial for five days and in three days they came back to me and said ‘you are no longer going back and we are giving you a contract’,” revealed Zwane.

“His influence was obviously immense because I was actually given the opportunity by him because of the connection with Mr Sono, Bra J, who played with him at New York for New York Cosmos.

“Luckily for me that time his schedule was hectic (as Pele was Sports Minister but I managed to see him), busy man but we had a person that played huge role in his career, Julio Mazzei, who also recruited Bra J from South Africa to New York Cosmos and he’s the one who told me a lot about him.

“Luckily I played with his (Pele’s) son, Edinho, who was the goalkeeper then and we were close because Edinho was the only person who could speak English, easily communicate with him.

“At first there was a language barrier because Brazilians don’t compromise when it comes to their language and Edinho helped me to settle.

“That’s how I got to know his family.”

Pele, 82, widely regarded greatest of all time as he is the only player in history to win three World Cups, passed away following a battle with cancer.

He made his name, becoming an icon of the game after winning the World Cup in 1958 as a 17-year-old, netting twice in the final to defeat hosts Sweden.

Injury restricted his contribution to Brazil’s triumph in 1962 in Chile but he was player of the tournament eight years later, as Brazil assembled one of the greatest sides of all time and lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in Mexico thanks to a 4-1 win over Italy in which Pele scored the opening goal.

That goal makes him one of only five players to have scored in two World Cup finals and, thanks to his exploits in 1958, he remains the youngest player to have netted a goal at the tournament. He was also the youngest player in that tournament.  

“He’s actually one of the greatest of all time when you talk about the history of football,” added Zwane who said he was planning to go to Brazil two months ago to strike collaboration with Chiefs and Santos. 

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' former KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN. Robin-Duke has left iDiski Times.