At least three players of Sao Paulo FC visiting India on a five-match tour next week were in the squad which won the Brazilian championship last season. Goalkeeper Mateus was part of the winning team, as was striker Caiuby, a recent addition to the squad. Defensive midfielder Francisco Alex is the third.
Also in the squad is 20-year-old central defender Carlinhos who has a £3 million buy-out clause, defender Flavio Donizeti da Costa who was part of the 2005 Libertadores Cup and Club World Cup winning squads and midfielder Arthur who represented Brazil in the 2002 U-17 World Cup. The average age of the squad is 22.
The rest, Aditya Kashyap, president of the Indian Football Association (IFA), told a news conference would be from Sao Paulo’s amateur and junior sides.
Sao Paulo, who also own a club in Madrid and was once home to Cafu, Cicinho, Denilson and Kaka, are also the reigning state champions.
On their third visit to India ‘ the first in 18 years’ the 76-year-old club which finished runners-up in the 2006 Libertadores Cup will play against the three Kolkata giants, JCT and a Kerala XI during a 19-day tour organised by the Indian Football Association (IFA).
Called Super Soccer 2007, the concept restarts a Kashyap and Russy Modi initiative during their Tata days. It was an initiative which brought teams like Bochum and Bobby Robson’s PSV Eindhoven in the days before cable television came into our lives.
Sao Paulo FC Squad
Goalkeepers: Anderson Gonzaga Leal, Mateus Versolato Junior, Alex Graciani. Defenders: Francisco Alex Sousa Da Silva, Gustavo Calil Cazao, Flavio Donizeti da Costa, Carlos Henrique de Oliviera, Tiago De Oliviera Souza. Midfielders: Jean Raphael Vanderlei Moreira, Marinaldo Cicero da Silva, Marcos Antonio Miranda Filho, David Aparecido De Oliviera Jr, Arthur Santa Rita De Lima, Anderson Hernanes C. Andrade Lima. Strikers: Velber Augusto Pantoja Conceicao, Roger Rodrigues Da Silva, Paulo Gomes De Matos, Caiuby Francisco da Silva, Marcelino Junior Lopes Arruda, Pablo Freita Cardosos De Mello.
January 27: Vs East Bengal (Siliguri). January 31: Vs Mohammedan Sporting (Jamshedpur). February 4: Vs Mohun Bagan (Kolkata). February 7: Vs Kerala XI (Kochi). February 11: Vs JCT (New Delhi, 2.30pm).