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Pele: Kaizer Chiefs coach Zwane recalls how daunting it was to share a room with Brazil great

12:02 AM MYT 01/01/2023
Arthur Zwane Kaizer Chiefs.
Kaizer Chiefs head coach Arthur Zwane recalls his interaction with Pele and says being in the same room with the Brazilian was daunting.
  • Zwane came into contact with Pele at Santos
  • Jomo Sono facilitated Zwane’s Santos trials
  • Amakhosi coach also recalls how Pele’s son helped him

WHAT HAPPENED? During his playing days at Jomo Cosmos, Zwane was sent for trials to Santos and had the opportunity to interact with Pele.

The opportunity was facilitated by Sono, and Zwane has recalled his interaction with the Brazil icon.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: "Bra J [Jomo Sono] sent me to Brazil for trials through his contact with Pele," Zwane said, as quoted by FARPost.

"When I was there, I interacted with him. [It was] not that often, but whenever he was around, he would come by because Santos was very close to his heart.

"I am very grateful to ‘Bra J’ for organising for me to go. Not many people get the chance to sit at the table with Pele.

"I am quite a shy person, so being in the room with Pele was a bit daunting because I didn’t know what to say, so I just listened to him.

"It helped my credibility when I got there because people knew Pele was instrumental in taking me to Brazil. Immediately, people thought, ‘If Pele sees something in him, he must be worth looking at’."

AND WHAT IS MORE: At Santos, the South African tactician also had the opportunity to brush shoulders with Pele's son, Edinho.

Edinho came to Zwane’s aid as he helped the Kaizer Chiefs mentor on matters of communication due to the language barrier.

"At that time, his son, Edinho, was playing at Santos," added the Amakhosi tactician.

"I could not speak Portuguese. Edinho, who was born and raised in America, helped me to communicate in English, so he was a teammate I was very close to, and that is how I got to know the family.

"I am still occasionally in touch with Edinho. I think the last time we spoke was about two weeks ago, just before Pele’s condition deteriorated."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pele – a man with a decorated football career - died on December 29 from cancer complications.

Apart from Zwane, South Africa's great Sono also recalled his interactions with the three-time World Cup winner. Pele and Sono were teammates at New York Cosmos in the US during the 1970s.

WHAT NEXT FOR ZWANE? As the tactician recalls memories with Pele, his focus is on the Chiefs’ assignments after the PSL resumption.