Where are the black coaches in Division A Brazilian futebol? Fortunes of first black championship coach reveal racial barriers in a sport that unites a country

Former player and coach Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva
Former player and coach Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva

Note from BW of Brazil: This article has been a long time coming. I still remember reading Afro-Brazilian oriented websites celebrating the accomplishment of Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva, better known as Andrade, who in 2009 became the first black coach to win a Division A championship (1). Today’s piece is noteworthy as all eyes are currently on Brazil as host of the 2014 World Cup and a favorite to win it all. Brazil has long been earned a reputation as being a factory of great futebol players, with a large percentage of them being black. But in a country that has long proclaimed itself to be a “racial democracy” or a place where persons of African descent are believed to have the same opportunities as those with a more European appearance, another question comes to the fore that once again reveals cracks in the  façade.

To get right to the point, we know that there have been countless Afro-Brazilian soccer greats over the years dominating fields in Brazil as well as Europe, but where are the black coaches? Are we to believe that there are simply no qualified men of African descent to lead the country’s top squads? Or is this yet another example of whiteness reigning supreme even in one of the few areas where Afro-Brazilians are given the opportunity to shine? In May of last year, we featured the experiences of a former player who had aspirations of becoming a coach in Brazil. He found that opportunities were better in Europe. Today’s piece on Andrade speaks volumes on how Afro-Brazilians are treated even in an area where everyone knows they dominate. 

Andrade: The first black Brazilian championship coach

Courtesy of PCO

Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva coached the Flamengo club to the Brazilian championship in 2009
Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva coached the Flamengo club to the Brazilian championship in 2009

In the country of futebol, the ones that command the teams – loaded with good black players – are the whites, who attended universities and have been trained to give commands. Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva, better known as Andrade, former coach of Flamengo, is an exception in the so-called “futebol elite”

In Brazilian soccer, prejudice against blacks manifests in senior positions, such as team coaches and in the direction of the club, mostly dominated by political mafias, that are part of the white, racist bourgeoisie. Only on the soccer field is the supremacy of blacks unquestioned.

In soccer and other sports, occurs a reproduction of what happens in the labor market, thus the highest posts are occupied by whites and that which requires less preparation and lower salaries are destined for blacks. Featured here is the fact that for the vast majority of soccer players in the country, wages are miserable. Research has indicated that approximately 70% of professionals (spread among hundreds of teams all over the country) earn less than two minimum wages (2).

Not having the prominence of coaches cajoled by the bourgeois press, and often linked to large schemes of “shady deals” involving professional soccer dominated by powerful capitalist companies such as TV networks, like Globo, and monopolies of sporting goods, like Nike, Andrade was put in charge temporarily while the directors of the Rio team sought a coach with more prestige in the market.

In the country of soccer, who commands the teams – full of good black players – are white men, who went to universities and were trained to give orders. Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva, coach of Flamengo, is an exception in the so-called soccer “elite”.

On other occasions, Andrade was called several times to lead the team as an interim coach, never being named full-time coach. Since 2004, the former defensive midfielder assumed the reigns of the team nine times in Rio, and only in 2009 on a continuous basis.

“A black man without good diction”

In 2004, ex-Flamengo player Junior (former teammate Andrade in the 80s), at the time a football manager, tried to actualize Andrade. He reported hearing, amid comments about the inexperience of the coach, racist arguments against the effectiveness of Andrade. “At the time of the weighing of his virtues and defects, these type of comments came out. Besides inexperience in the position, they said he was a black man without good diction,” recalls Junior. On this, Andrade said: “it comes from ignorant people who still have thoughts like this in this century we’re in. It doesn’t deserve comment.”

Brazil’s first black champion

Andrade in his playing days and as a coach
Andrade in his playing days and as a coach

Andrade had already entered into the history of Brazilian futebol, especially that of  Flamengo, when he joined the mythological squad of Flamengo in the 80s. Midfield of passes and accurate kicks and an unrivaled cool, Andrade had won five Brazilian titles before the Brasileirão of 2009. Moreover, contrary to what usually happens with black players hanging up their boots, Andrade held steady work within Flamengo, even though completely overshadowed by dozens of hirings of coaches to “save” the Rio team.

Crowning this wonderful futebol career on December 6, 2009, Andrade won the Brazilian Championship, after taking a discredited Flamengo team that in previous years, given the huge thefts inside the club by shot-callers, rid itself of relegation (3) and accumulating debts of hundreds of millions.

Jorge Luís Andrade da Silva - Champion with Flamengo in 2009

Asked how he felt to be the first black man to win the title as coach, Andrade replied: “It’s special. There are no black coaches in Series A and hopefully this is a victory to open the door for others. It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up. Many athletes also have difficulty entering the market because of this.”

Here it is important to make a observation. By the existing racism in soccer, other champion coaches were not considered black. The mulato, mestiço (person of mixed race) and other ethnic groups tend to be whitened by the bourgeois press. For example, in 1987 and 1992 national champion Flamengo was coached by Carlinhos. Wanderley Luxemburg, maybe the coach with the most national titles in activity, has declared himself black several times. It’s fitting to also cite Celso Roth, or even Joel Santana who are not necessarily white. However, in the case of Andrade, racism was more blatant because of his undeniable blackness. Not coincidentally, he was constantly overshadowed as interim coach of Flamengo, a black man, “with diction problems” and restrained.

Coaches Wanderley Luxemburg, Celso Roth and Joel Santana
Coaches Wanderley Luxemburg, Celso Roth and Joel Santana

His victory as coach, quite like Flamengo, as a team composed mostly of blacks, can also be celebrated as a victory for black people, who see in Andrade a legitimate representative of his race and that certainly screamed louder with Andrade on that Sunday.

N0te from BW of Brazil: The following article is from the year 2010 and as such doesn’t reflect Andrade’s current position as the coach of the Division B team São João da Barra. Regardless of the fact that he is currently a coach of a team in a less prestigious division, other questions arise: 1) With Afro-Brazilians playing such a dominant role in futebol brasileiro for most of the 20th and 21st centuries (after initially being blocked from participating), why was it only in 2009 that a dark-skinned black coach won a Division A title? 2) How many coaches of major sports league teams go unemployed or are downgraded after winning a major championship? 

Racism in futebol?

by Leonardo “Patch” Garcia

Andrade, ex-player and coach, champion and elected the best coach of the Brazilian Championship of 2009, and has been unemployed since April 23, of this year (2010), without having received any offer. So, I wonder:  Why is the best coach of last year unemployed? Is he too expensive for the market? Is it because he’s black?

I know that last question may seem a bit exaggerated, but I couldn’t come to any other conclusion, and I will explain why! But first let’s break this into parts, one question at a time.

Andrade and Flamengo players meet with then-president Lula da Silva
Andrade and Flamengo players meet with then-president Lula da Silva

Why is the best coach of 2009 unemployed?

To answer this question I have respond to the following. So let’s respond to all of the questions:

• Could it be that Andrade was too expensive for the Brazilian market?

Before becoming champion, Andrade received one of the lowest salaries of 1st division coaches of Brazilian soccer, less than his predecessor in the coach’s position of Flamengo (Cuca), and demanded a better salary to stay in the Flamengo colors of red and black and in the negotiations he managed an increase, not as much as desired, but a raise, to about R$150 thousand per month. As Andrade himself said, he had not asked for anything close to that of Muricy, Mano Menezes, Luxembourg and Cuca but still accepted a lower offer. To emphasize this point, Muricy earns around R$500,000 (US$222,000), Luxembourg around R$1 million (US$440,000), Cuca around R$300 thousand (US$133,000), Mano Menezes (of the National Team) R$300 thousand (US$133,000), Scolari (World Cup champion coach in 2002) around R$700 thousand (US$310,500), Adilson Baptista around R$350 thousand (US$155,300). And the average salaries of coaches from the 1st division of Brazilian soccer this year is R$250,000 (US$111,000). Therefore, one can conclude that Andrade is not too expensive for the Brazilian market, to the contrary, he is cheap.

Flamengo, coached by Andrade, won the 2009 Brasileirão
Flamengo, coached by Andrade, won the 2009 Brasileirão

• Could it be that Andrade being the Brazilian champion of 2009 was luck?

It’s easy to say that the job of a coach is pure luck when he had players on the level of Adriano and Petkovic in a great phase of their careers, but could this not also be said of a coach who has Conca and Fred in a great phase? So why not say Cuca was lucky at Fluminense? This same Cuca who was on the Fluminense team with Adriano and Petkovic failed to take off. Andrade, like Cuca in Fluminense, with Flamengo had many merits to fix the team and make it into a championship team, but they always say that he was lucky! He was lucky that he became the champion with Flamengo in the second round and Brazilian champion. In my vision Cuca did a good job as head of Fluminense and Andrade did a great job heading up Flamengo. It was not luck but rather work!

• Andrade had low point percentages of his last team?

This is certainly not the case because his last team was Flamengo, which was Brazilian champion in 2009, a runner-up of Rio de Janeiro in 2010, classified his team for the Final Eight of the Copa Libertadores da América and had a total recovery of 70% of the points in which he led as team commander. Low percentage points is not the reason.

• Could it be a lack of experience of Andrade as a coach?

This is perhaps the excuse that best sticks, but I also don’t believe it. After all today we have Silas as coach of Flamengo, after a great time with Avaí last year and a regular tenure with Grêmio in 2010, before the good campaign with Avaí he was just a new “guy” on the market, but he had all the opportunities at his door. And Cuca? Cuca is experienced, but only won a title in his career last year and that was a state title. Adilson Baptista? Before Cruzeiro he had never led anyone, and with time he earned 2 state titles and a runner-up in Libertadores. And Jorginho that temporarily headed the Palmeiras last year, had ​​a good season, left with the arrival of Muricy, and this year has led Goiás and is employed at Figueirense. And Jorginho was coached for five months with América from Rio in 2006 and just after he was Dunga’s assistant on the national team, and he’s already been hired to be coach of Goiás. Maybe those cited, and Adilson and Cuca had more experience than Andrade, but none has a major title on his resume as that of  Brazilian champ. Because of this I don’t believe that it was Andrade’s “lack” of experience. Andrade, who before commanding the red and black had already coached the team 7 other times, 5 as interim, and was assistant for about 5 years old, getting experience with several coaches  (Ney Franco, Joel Santana, Cuca, Caio Júnior, Waldemar Lemos). It’s always good to remember that Oswaldo de Oliveira who was an assistant to Luxembourg in 1998 and 1999 took command of Corinthians and was Brazilian champion, and since then has never been unemployed for long.

• Could it be because Andrade is black?

I didn’t want to come to that conclusion, but I see no other choice. Few know, but the realm of soccer is controlled by a white, largely racist majority. Black players are accepted, but being a black coach is a great barrier with few commanding the 1st Division, and there had never been a black championship coach, even dealing with Brazil. Andrade reported that he experienced discrimination within the ranks of Flamengo itself for being black, even though he had participated as a player in 4 of the 6 titles of Brazilian club (and in 2009 as coach). What I believe is that almost no Brazilian director likes to see his team with a black coach in command, and gives few chances to blacks, as in the case of Andrade, who was chosen at Flamengo due to the crisis that faced the club and managed to do a job that nobody thought he was capable of, but is still facing problems of renewing the post of coach even after the conquest of the title and requests of the fans. For Andrade they cried at giving up a salary of R$150,000, but for Scolari, Luxembourg and Muricy they don’t save the coffers, coming to pay the absurdities of R$1 million to these coaches. When a black coach earns half of this in Brazil I believe that we will be, perhaps, in a change of thought.

Source: PCO, Global Esportes, Black Women of Brazil

Notes

1. Brazilian futebol divisions are divided into four: Série A, Série B, Série C and Série D. Série A is the most prestigious and features 20 clubs that battle for the championship known as the Brasileirão every year. Série B is the second and less prestigious division and has nearly 80 teams.

2. In January of 2010, the Brazilian monthly minimum salary was R$510, or about US$226. Two minimum salaries would have been R$1,020, worth about US$452.

3. In sports leagues, promotion and relegation is a process where teams are transferred between two divisions based on their performance for the completed season. The best-ranked teams in the lower division are promoted to the division above, and the worst-ranked teams in the higher division are relegated to the division below. Source

About Marques Travae 2895 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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