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The Classics

All eyes on Pele

Published:Friday | September 29, 2023 | 7:58 AM
Basil Hamilton (right), a graduate of the JAMAL programme, presents an "Into the Light" tee shirt to Brazilian soccer star Pele, at the Courtleigh Manor Hotel on September 21, 1975.

Just like any game featuring Pele, the National Stadium was brimming with eager and anticipatory spectators for the Santos vs Cosmos match. Coaches, fans, and sponsors alike were all fervently wishing that the football legend, touted as the greatest, would grace the pitch for at least half of the game and steer clear of injuries.


Pele makes second local appearance

-It’s Santos vs Cosmos at the Stadium today

TODAY, for the second time in just over four years, Jamaican soccer fans will have the chance of seeing the incomparable soccer genius Pele of Brazil in action at the National Stadium.  At 5 p.m. the architect of the game’s most devastating dribbles takes the field as a member of the New York Cosmos against Jamaica’s National Craven ‘A’ League champions, Santos of Kingston, in a scheduled 90-minute encounter:

With some $60,000 laid out in this mightly soccer adventure, of which sponsors Hardware and Lumber Limited have guaranteed $10,000, entrepreneurs Santos contracted to have Pele appearing for the entire first half and at least one-half of the second frame if the ogre of injury does not rear its ugly head.

For today’s game the life stream of the Cosmos will flow around the inventiveness of the great Pele, who will coordinate from a basically midfield position the thrusts and defensive strategy of the visitors, who are now caught midway in a new policy of fusing European and South American styles.

Europeon soccer delights in much running while the South Americans use the ball more and tend to rely heavily on individual flair.  As Pele said at his news conference yesterday: “I am trying to get this new Cosmos side comprised of so many different countries to arrive at a happy blend of European and South American styles and we will try out many things against Santos.”

Santos are sticking by the 4-2-4 formation while New York Cosmos opt for the 4-3-3.  Up to late last night Jackie Bell was not sure of his take on the field eleven.

The Cosmos have decided to face Lcar Lawrence’s first blast of the whistle with Rig by in goal; Rellis, Masonik.

Roth and Rowan, as the back four with Bicciano as a replacement, for Roth of necessary; Miffon, Pittico and Paredes in midfield with Correa in for Miffum and Shpigler for Pitico, if necessary, and the marauding goal-hunting trio of Pel Ord and Livoric up front.  Manoel Mara will stand by for Pele and Coyne for Ord.

From the viewpoint of Santos coach Jackie Bell, who a few weeks ago exuded infectious confidence about the chances of his team emerging winners today, was less exuberant last night as he could not totally remove every trace of doubt about the fitness of his key players Allan Cole and Peter Marston – both victims of recent thigh injuries.

Cole was given the go-ahead and trained yesterday morning with the rest of the Santos squad on the Stadium practice field.  Following medical advice had a thorough warm-up, involving much skipping and jogging, before moving into ball work and he will have undertake the same pre-match physical involvements before today’s big game.

On the other hand Marston, who said he was “O.K. and ready to go” got a clearance from physiotherapist Howard Aris but coach Bell was not prepared, and quite rightly so, to take an injudicious chance with a player, who as late as the Jamaica Cuba game in Panama two Saturday nights ago was a veritable passenger even although he was not wanting in sheer guts.

A huge question mark must also surround the unpredictable Billy Perkins in defence because of his fondness for conceding goals or causing goals against his own teams because of frightfully poor judgement, exemplified at work in misjudged and under-paced back passes and headers.  This unfortunate tendency must understandably affect the confidence of his colleagues, particularly when Pele and company are seeking residence in the Santos penalty area and even, worst yet, in their goal area.

There are many fans, who are optimistic about a Santos victory especially if Cole is fit for the duration of the match and Marston is not hampered by physical restraints while referee Icar Lawrence oversees the course of this historic match.

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