Egyptians just saw the official inauguration of a football school for children and youths by soccer team Santos Futebol Clube in Cairo, capital of Egypt. The soccer school, for children and youths aged seven to seventeen, is the result of a brand license agreement signed by Santos and Dutch-Egyptian Sports Investments (Desi).
Desi was represented by former Egyptian player Zakaria Nassef, who defended the country's two leading teams, Al-Ahly and Zamalek, as well as the national team.
According to information supplied by the team, based in the state of São Paulo, the inauguration was attended by its marketing director, José Geraldo Gomes Barbosa, and the coach for younger categories, Antonio Lima dos Santos, a.k.a. Lima, who played for Santos in the 1960s alongside names such as Pelé, Pepe, Zito and Coutinho.
In fact, the school has already been operating since early this year at the Katamya Club, in Cairo. According to the coordinator of school franchises at the Brazilian team, Higor Nunes dos Santos, the agreement stipulates that Egyptians should pay a licensing fee to Santos, as well as a percentage of revenues earned from monthly school fees, as royalty payments.
In return, Santos will provide its brand, know-how, by means of manuals, training for coaches and technical evaluations twice a year. The first such evaluation was conducted by coach Lima during his trip to Cairo. According to Nunes, the coach spotted 10 kids with potential to play for Santos, and they should come to Brazil for an in-depth evaluation. Currently, the school has 400 students.
The Egyptians sought the São Paulo-based club with the aim of obtaining a brand capable of competing with other schools in the Arab country, such as Manchester United and Real Madrid. "They sought Santos in order to compete with other teams," stated Nunes. "Initially we had no plans of extending our activities to other countries, but the opportunity came up and we seized it," he stated.
Santos has a similar agreement with a school in Canada, plus 20 franchises and an outsourced pilot unit in Brazil. According to Nunes, the club "acquired a taste for the thing," and now it wants to develop partnerships in other countries. Santos is already eyeing Japan, Mexico, other South American countries, and further on it wants to enter the United States.
According to him, it became clear, during the negotiation process for the two foreign agreements, that Santos still enjoys a very positive image abroad, influenced by memories of the Pelé Era and, more recently, the discovery of striker Robinho, who now plays for Real Madrid and the Brazilian Team.
The 'Fish', which is the nickname given to the team from the city of Santos, on the coastline of the state of São Paulo, was founded in 1912 and ranks among Brazil's most traditional clubs. The team reached the peak of its international fame in the 1960s, when it won the South American Championship and the Interclub World Championship twice each.
The greatest star of Santos was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé, who played most of his professional career at the club, from 1956 to 1974. The King of soccer, by far its leading scorer with 1,091 goals, is still very much attached to the team and is a member of its Deliberative Board.
In addition to winning international titles, the club was eight times Brazilian champion, two in the modern phase of the tournament, which started in the 1970s. Santos' most recent title was won in 2004. The team also won the Championship of the State of São Paulo 17 times, the latest being last year.