World Cup 2018 is well underway, and regardless of the team you support you can never discount the Brazil factor in any World Cup. As five-time world champions—1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002—they are always going to be fan favourites at home and abroad.
Four years after their disappointing performance in the 2014 World Cup, Brazil is tipped as a favourite again under Head Coach Tite. They are a dramatically different side in Russia, especially mentally, compared to 2014, and Brazilians have their master tactician to thank. Are they back to playing their classic ‘Joga Bonito’, Beautiful Game?
At the time of writing, the Brazilians drew their first match against Switzerland, failing to capitalise on several opportunities in their Group E matchday, but we shall wait to see what lies ahead.
With the anxiety, exhilaration and disappointment that comes with a World Cup, I sat down with some coffee and conversation with my friend, former coaching colleague and FIFA football agent Narada Wilson.
A Trinidadian from the southland, Narada has spent the last nine years living and working in Brazil. He is familiar with the dynamics of Brazilian sport, culture, and education, and considers Brazil his second home.
How did you end of up Brazil?
Several visits to South America and Brazil’s fame as a football and sporting mecca led Narada to leave our shores in 2009 in search of excellence. Although he considered the option of obtaining a scholarship to the United States, family economics, and the sheer expense of the US system without a full scholarship led to the decision to pursue other international options for tertiary education. Brazil, football, Portuguese: he must have been thinking that this was going to be a life-shifting experience.
When did the big break come?
While at university, Narada threw himself into every opportunity to develop planning, and logistics skills for hosting huge sporting events. His big break came in 2012–2014 while working with the World Cup Secretariat, collaborating with FIFA and government stakeholders as they prepared the country to host football’s biggest event in the football-frenzied nation.
“It was a dream come true to see all the work come to fruition. I had the opportunity to meet and fraternise with some of the world’s greatest football players and that has been a highlight of my career thus far.”
Added to his impressive resume was working as special liaison for the 2013 Women’s Copa Libertadores held in Brazil; and a partnership with a fellow Trinidadian which saw their company providing the same expertise from the World Cup as part of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s Rio Olympic Games team planning and preparation.
What keeps you motivated?
“Love for sport and the management and representation side of things. I am a qualified FIFA agent, and I worked with a reputable Brazilian agency for many years who represented some of Brazil’s stars.”
These experiences have certainly augured well as Narada is considered one of the youngest, brightest, professional football agents in the English-speaking Caribbean. He has managed both male and female players, handling the business side of their careers with astuteness and charisma.
His network has allowed him to be sought after by former government ministers, media personalities, and sporting bodies for the development of sport in Trinidad and Tobago in a plethora of capacities.
Always willing to give back where much has been given to him, Narada often visits secondary school career days, or whenever called upon to facilitate informative sessions where students can be exposed to the numerous opportunities in Brazil for work, travel, education. “It is my way of facilitating information that was not easily available to me.”
Who are you supporting in Russia?
“Brazil! (smiling) Let’s go for the sixth title! I believe Tite (Head Coach) is a football intellectual with athletes whom he believes allows him to have the team with the best attributes he needs. The chemistry among the players is absolutely on point.”
Jamila Gamero is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.