Football Legend Pele Hospitalised

Brazilian football legend Pele speaks during a meeting with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and France national football team forward Kylian Mbappe at the Hotel Lutetia in Paris/ AFP


Brazilian football legend Pele has been hospitalized for treatment of a previously identified colon tumor, his doctors said Wednesday, the latest health problem for the 81-year-old icon.

The three-time world champion was admitted to Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo “for follow-up treatment of the colon tumor identified in September this year,” his medical team said in a statement.

“The patient is stable, and is expected to be released in the coming days.”

Pele underwent surgery for the tumor on September 4, spending a month in the hospital before being released to continue chemotherapy from home.

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Considered by many the greatest footballer of all time, Edson Arantes do Nascimento — Pele’s real name — has been in poor health in recent years, and has spent various stints in the hospital.

The only player in history to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), he burst onto the global stage at just 17 with dazzling goals, including two in the final against hosts Sweden, as Brazil won the World Cup for the first time in 1958.

“O Rei” (The King) went on to have one of the most storied careers in sport, scoring more than 1,000 goals before retiring in 1977.

COVID-19: Sao Paulo Closes All Non-Essential Businesses For Two Weeks

A street vendor wears a plastic bag as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 16, 2020.  NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP
A street vendor wears a plastic bag as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 16, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP


Sao Paulo state Governor Joao Doria on Saturday ordered a two-week quarantine from Tuesday to help curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state is the economic capital of Latin America and the worst-hit area of Brazil, which has recorded more than 900 virus cases and 11 deaths. Six of those deaths have been in Sao Paulo.

The measure requires a “total closure of non-essential businesses and services,” Doria told journalists.

Sao Paulo state is home to 46 million people, and its capital city of the same name is the biggest in Latin America, with 13 million inhabitants.

While “bars, cafes and restaurants” must close, health services, security services, banks, supermarkets, bakers and public transport will all continue to function.

The move comes two days after Rio de Janeiro state announced similar containment measures, including the closure of world famous beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema.

Doria said the measure would not affect industry.

“We know we’re in a war and this war needs to be faced with appropriate, fast and efficient decisions,” said Doria.

Brazil’s two most populous states have taken a pro-active approach to containing the coronavirus outbreak, in stark contrast to far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro hit out on Friday at Rio’s governor Wilson Witzel for the measures he took, which included closing air, sea and land links with other infected states.

“It seems like Rio de Janeiro is another country. It’s not, we’re a federation,” Bolsonaro said.

The majority of cases in Brazil — Latin America’s largest country, with 210 million people — have come in its two biggest states.

Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta predicted on Wednesday that the outbreak would reach its peak in Brazil between April and June, adding that cases wouldn’t start falling until September.



Brazil’s Bolsonaro Leaves Hospital After 4th Operation

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro left hospital Monday eight days after another operation on his stomach following his stabbing at an campaign rally last year.

Bolsonaro, 64, is still scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, where Brazil traditionally delivers the first address.

“The President will continue his recovery at home and should follow medical guidelines related to diet and physical activity,” said a statement from the Vila Nova Star Hospital in Sao Paulo.

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The presidential convoy left the hospital early in the afternoon to fly back to Brasilia, the capital.

Bolsonaro had undergone a five-hour operation on his stomach — the fourth such procedure. He was forced to delay his original date for returning to work from September 13 until September 18.

His prolonged stay in hospital did not stop him delivering his regular Thursday night live broadcast on Facebook, with a feeding tube still in his nose.

Bolsonaro, a right-wing politician who is a close ally of US President Donald Trump, was stabbed in September last year during his victorious presidential campaign.

He is expected to give his UN speech focused on the huge fires in the Amazon rain forest. He has rejected international criticism of his handling of the crisis.

“The president understands that he must not expose himself to exhausting journeys… while recognizing the importance of this trip,” his spokesman said.

Brazilian President Bolsonaro To Undergo Hernia Surgery

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. EVARISTO SA / AFP


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will undergo surgery for an incisional hernia in Sao Paulo on Sunday, his surgeon said.

He arrived at Vila Nova Star Hospital Saturday night accompanied by his wife Michelle and his son Carlos.

It is his fourth operation since he was stabbed a year ago during the presidential campaign, with the latest surgery to correct a problem resulting from the previous procedures.

“The president has already gone through three large surgeries, including the last one, for abdominal reconstruction, and the region was quite weakened by invasive actions,” his surgeon Antonio Luiz Macedo told the G1 news portal.

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“It is a simple to moderate level surgery,” he said. “No complications are expected.”

The surgery forced the right-wing president to miss a summit of leaders from seven Amazon nations in Colombia to agree measures to protect the world’s biggest rainforest.

He has been widely criticized over policies that favor deforestation and a delayed reaction to the wildfires that have devastated swathes of the Amazon.

Bolsonaro was stabbed in September, 2018 during a campaign rally in the state of Minas Gerais.

Attacker Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, 41, was arrested at the scene and said he acted alone.

De Oliveira, who medical authorities said suffers from mental problems, was ordered detained indefinitely in the psychiatric unit of a maximum security prison.

Dani Alves Scores Winning Goal On Sao Paulo Debut

Sao Paulo’s player Dani Alves (L) celebrates after scoring against Ceara during their Brazilian Championship at Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on August 18, 2019.


Brazil veteran Dani Alves scored the winning goal on his debut for Sao Paulo on Sunday, weeks after signing a three-year deal with the club. 

Alves, 36, found the back of the net in the 40th minute to score the only goal of the game against Ceara.

Alves and Spanish international Juanfran, 34, are the stars for Sao Paulo, who snapped up both players after their contracts with European clubs expired.

Alves’ return to Brazil after 17 years playing for top clubs in Europe has had a big impact on his home country.

The right-back played for Sevilla before going on to play for Barcelona, Juventus and PSG, collecting nine national league titles along the way — six in Spain, one in Italy and two in France.

He has collected 40 trophies in all with club and country including three Champions League titles with Barcelona and two UEFA Cups with Sevilla

He has also won two Copa Americas with Brazil, most recently in July when he was named player of the tournament as he captained them to victory over Peru in the final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

Juanfran arrived in Sao Paulo after an extensive career in Spain where he played for Real Madrid, Espanyol, Osasuna and Atletico Madrid.


Brazil Captain Dani Alves Joins Sao Paulo On Free Transfer

In this file photo taken on July 7, 2019, Brazil’s Dani Alves celbrates after defeating Peru to win the Copa America football tournament at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. PHOTO: LUIS ACOSTA / AFP

After 17 years playing for the top clubs in Europe, Brazil captain Dani Alves has decided to return home, signing a three-year deal with Sao Paulo.

A free agent after his contract with French champions Paris Saint-Germain expired in June, Alves explained his decision on a Twitter video posted on the club website.

“I could have picked any team to play for but I chose to return to Brazil, to my country, my people, to the club that I love,” said the 36-year-old who has been in Europe since he signed for Sevilla in 2002.

The right-back went on to play for Barcelona, Juventus and PSG, collecting nine national league titles along the way — six in Spain, one in Italy and two in France.

He has collected 40 trophies in all with club and country including three Champions League titles with Barcelona and two UEFA Cups with Sevilla

He has also won two Copa Americas with Brazil, most recently in July when he was named player of the tournament as he captained them to victory over Peru in the final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

“Once, I told Daniel that he would come to play at Sao Paulo, the club of his heart,” said club president Carlos Augusto de Barros e Silva in a statement.

“Today I have the immense joy and pride to have kept that promise.”

Sao Paulo, the former club of 1994 World Cup winner Rai, now the general manager, and legendary goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, are currently fifth in the Brazilian championship.


Gunman Commits Suicide After Killing Four In Brazil Cathedral

People gather outside the Cathedral of Campinas, 90 km northwest of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 11, 2018, after a man opened fire during mass and killed at least four people before committing suicide. Ari FERREIRA / AFP


A gunman opened fire Tuesday in a cathedral in the southeastern Brazilian city of Campinas near Sao Paulo, killing four worshippers before committing suicide as police shot at him, officials said.

Paramedics told reporters the man fired a revolver and a .38-caliber pistol inside the cathedral at 1:00 pm (1500 GMT) as a sparsely attended mass was taking place, also wounding several people before killing himself.

The motive of the shooting was not immediately known.

Police speaking to the G1 news website identified the gunman as a 49-year-old who resided in Valinhos, a town near Campinas.

“A man opened fire randomly on people inside until police intervened and shot at the gunman who then killed himself,” the Security Secretariat for the state of Sao Paulo said in a statement.

In addition to the gunman, four other people died and another four were wounded, it added.

The secretariat said footage from the cathedral’s security cameras would be analyzed.

News magazine Veja posted footage from one of the cameras inside the cathedral showing the gunman firing a handgun at worshippers as they sat in pews, moving toward his targets as he shot and headed to the altar.

Some survivors were seen running out the door. Two police officers then entered with pistols drawn and moved out of the frame.

“I had started to celebrate mass at 12:15 pm and at the end of the mass, a man entered and shot at his victims. Nobody was able to do anything,” priest Amaury Thomazi said in a video published on social media.

Images broadcast on television showed the lifeless body of the gunman, wearing a blue t-shirt, lying inside the cathedral, holding a discharged pistol in his right hand and a revolver tucked into his jeans.

Paramedics treated several people outside the cathedral and there were multiple police cars in the street.

“Everybody ran out. You can imagine that I’m shocked,” one woman who was attending the mass told Globo TV.

The archdiocese of Sao Paulo said on its Facebook page that the killings provoked “deep pain” and added that the cathedral would be closed for as long as required for the police investigation.

‘Innocent People’

A police officer told Globo TV that most of those in the cathedral at the time were elderly.

“He opened fire on innocent people. It’s a big tragedy,” the officer said.

Brazil is one of the most violent countries in the world. Last year, it registered a record 63,880 murders. Its homicide rate of 30.8 per 100,000 inhabitants is three times higher than the level the UN considers to meet the definition of “endemic violence.”

Seventy percent of murders in Brazil are committed with firearms, according to the Forum for Public Security monitoring group.

The country’s incoming president, Jair Bolsonaro, who takes office on January 1, easily won November elections on a platform that included promises to ruthlessly crack down on crime and ease gun laws to allow “good” people to defend themselves.


Fire Guts Sao Paulo Tower Used By Squatters

Police officers look as firefighters work to extinguish the fire in a building that collapsed after catching fire in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 1, 2018.  Nelson ALMEIDA / AFP


A 24-storey building used by squatters in the center of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, collapsed early Tuesday after a blaze that tore through the structure, leaving at least three missing.

Survivors described waking in the night to find themselves surrounded by flames and escaping with their children before the tower turned to rubble.

Scores of homeless families were occupying the building, according to officials. However, despite the ferocity of the blaze, only one person was listed as almost certainly dead.

“There are some missing, approximately three, with one very likely a fatality,” Ricardo Peixoto, a firefighters’ commander, told AFP. “We don’t know how many people were in the building so we don’t know whether we’ll find more victims in the ruins.”

So far, 250 people who’d been living in the building have been registered after the blaze, city security official Jose Roberto said.

The fire began overnight and spread rapidly, turning the building into an inferno before it fell down.

Dramatic pictures tweeted by the fire service showed flames shooting up the sides of the whole tower, moments before it was reduced to a heap of smoking ruins. An adjacent church was also damaged.

“We got the call at around 1:30 am (0230 GMT) and we came at once, a few minutes later, and about five floors of the building were on fire,” Peixoto said. “Fifteen or 20 minutes later the building fell.”

Fifty-seven vehicles and 160 firefighters were deployed to the scene, the department said.

Frantic escape 

Sao Paulo is Brazil’s financial capital and the most populous city in Latin America but suffers huge economic inequality.

Poor families often squat in disused buildings or set up tents and shacks on vacant land, sometimes next to wealthy areas.

President Michel Temer, who is Brazil’s most unpopular leader on record, with single-digit approval ratings, got a hostile reception when he briefly visited the scene.

“We want to house!” a crowd chanted.

One survivor, 26-year-old Henrique, said he managed to get out from the third floor with his girlfriend and their dog.

“We woke and the building was already on fire,” he said. “We struggle so much and now we’ve lost everything.”

Another man, Jose Antonio, described the frantic escape from the sixth floor, where he lived with his wife, three children and sister-in-law.

“I was unsure if my son had taken my youngest daughter,” Antonio, 48, told AFP. “There was still time to go back so I returned, I looked around, I patted the mattresses. There wasn’t time to take anything. I patted the mattresses, saw no one was at home anymore, then I went down behind them shouting their names to see if they had gone down.”

Sao Paulo state Governor Marcio Franca said “it was a tragedy waiting to happen…. This building didn’t have even the minimum conditions for habitation. The state should not have allowed it to be occupied.”

From a safety point of view, the building was a ticking bomb, Peixoto said.

“There was no security, there were not adequate electrical installations, there were no safe staircases, there were piles of rubbish — there was everything you need to start a major fire,” he said.


African Runners Dominate Annual Race In Sao Paulo

sao-silvester-road-raceAfricans once again dominated the Annual Sao Silvester Road Race in Sao Paulo with Kenyan Jemima Sumgong setting a record in the women’s race and Ethiopian Leul Aleme winning the men’s race.

Sumgong, who won both the London marathon and a gold medal at the Rio Olympics earlier this year, finished the 15 Kilometres race in 48 minutes and 35 seconds.

With a final sprint, Aleme finished in 44 minutes and 53 seconds, edging out fellow Ethiopian Dawit Admasu and Kenyan Stephen Kosgei, who finished second and third, respectively.

Some 30,000 runners from 42 countries took part in the traditional New Year’s eve race through the streets of Brazil’s largest city.

Tactical Lapses Responsible For Loss To Germany, Says Abiodun Obafemi

Nigeria-dream-Team-in-OlympicsEx-Nigerian footballer, Abiodun Obafemi, has blamed the Nigerian coaching staff for the semifinal loss against Germany on Wednesday.

The defender said a wrong tactical approach was used in the match which was played at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Well, I think we played against a formidable and better team,” Obafemi told Goal.

“The cohesion and the urgency was not there, until later in the second half. I was expecting the whole team, particularly the officials of the team to have studied the previous games of the German team.

“I watched the Germans with the team they played in the quarterfinal and expected the coaching crew would have studied them well and planned a better tactical approach.

“I believe we didn’t do our homework. I was expecting us to close-mark them but we allowed them to play freely and dictate the pace of the game.

“We made it too easy for them. I expected we should have won the game. I’m not really happy with the outcome because the approach was not right.

“I was expecting a do-or-die spirit from the boys. Yes there were couple of players who stepped up their game, but I did not see them show great desire and seriousness to win the game.

Goals from Lukas Klostermann and Nils Petersen shattered the Dream Team VI hopes for the gold and gifted the Europeans a place in the final against hosts Brazil.

Meanwhile, Nigeria, which has not won any medal in the 2016 Olympics, now prepare to fight for third place against Honduras after the North Americans were trashed 6-0 by host nation, Brazil.

Abiodun Obafemi was part of Nigeria’s Gold Medal winning team at the 1996 Olympics.

Siasia Rues Defensive Frailties As U-23 Face Denmark

Nigeria Colombia game: Samson Siasia commentsCoach Samson Siasia says he will concentrate on building a solid defence-line after Nigeria U-23 team’s 0-2 loss to Colombia in their final Group B game at the Men’s Olympics Football Tournament Rio 2016.

The African champions are getting set to tackle Group A runners-up, Denmark, in the quarter finals on Saturday.

At the post match conference on Wednesday, Siasia said: “Of course when you make too many changes, it won’t work the way you expected.

Didn’t Do A Good Job

“Going into the knock-out stage, that’s a different ball game. If you lose, you go home, so all those mistakes we have been making mostly in the backline have to be corrected.

“We didn’t do a good job on the Colombian forwards. We really have to work harder on our defending.

“In the first half, we had a couple of good chances and Etebo had a very good one that he should have scored. But one good thing about him is that he always put himself in good positions. He didn’t score today; that’s football. Hopefully, in the next game, we can convert our chances and defend better”.

On his assessment of the Colombia squad, Siasia stated: “Colombia has always been a good team, in spite of the challenges they faced before coming to the Olympics. All the teams at this tournament are good; you just have to take your chances when you have them.

“The Colombians took their chances against us and are now in the quarter –finals”.

On the injury to Oghenekaro Etebo, Coach Siasia said he would have to wait for the verdict of the medical crew. On his part, Captain Mikel Obi said the team did not take the game lightly.

“That’s football. We are professionals and could not have underrated the Colombians. We will work harder ahead of our next game.”

The Nigeria U-23 delegation departed Sao Paulo on Thursday morning for Salvador, where the team confronts Denmark at the Arena Fonte Nova on Saturday evening.

Petrobras Scandal: Former Brazil President, Lula Faces Trial

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, BrazilA Federal Court in Brazil has ordered the trial of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, for obstruction of justice.

The trial was pronounced in a ruling on a case linked to the scandal at the state oil company Petrobras.

Lula, who was President from 2003 to 2011, was accused of hindering Operation Car Wash, the inquiry into the multi-billion-dollar company.

He has denied committing any offence.

Mr Lula was earlier detained and brought in for questioning in March, when Federal Police agents stormed his residence.