King Pele’s visit should prove inspirational
Today’s footballers don’t understand history – Lennox Arthur
Fifty-eight-year-old former National footballer Lennox Arthur is also known as ‘Mulling’, ‘Cross Eyes’ and even ‘Pele’ and he is credited with forming the Pele Football Club on July 18th 1971.
The former National star named the South Georgetown club after the great Brazilian who retired from the International arena that same year.
Yesterday, the former National youth and Senior team Coach who retired from the National scene when he was just 23-year-old to focus on Coaching, said one of the biggest moment in his life will be meeting the legendary ‘King’ Pele whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
Pele arrived in Guyana yesterday for today’s opening of the 20th annual Kashif and Shanghai Football competition and Arthur, a life member of the Pele FC, feels that Pele’s visit should inspire the present crop of Pele players to want to understand the rich history of the club which has been using the National Park facilities to practice since its formation 38 years ago.
Arthur, who represented Guyana at the youth (U-17, U-19 & U-23) level between 1967 and 1969, played at the senior level for his country from 1970-1973 and in fact was the National youth team Coach during the latter part of his senior National career.
The 70-year-old Pele was Arthur’s football idol and the former winger was a star player at the Santos club when he began coaching a group of youths from the Albouystown YMCA and formed the YMCA football team.
It was at this point that he was forced to make a decision regarding his career as a Santos player if he wanted to be associated with Pele as a Coach.
In fact, Arthur’s young guns took Pele to the national FA finals in their first year at the first division level in 1972 and Arthur played for Santos against them in that match.
“Pele had 8 youth nationals in their team but Santos was way more experienced with 9 senior Guyana players including myself, Frank White, Clyde ‘Farmer Browne, Sargo France, Michael ‘Sukarow’ Beckles, Morris Enmore, Clive Nedd, Maxie Charles and Keith Smart. We won the game but that was really the beginning of the success of Pele as one of Guyana’s top football clubs,” Arthur said.
Arthur informed that by 1977 when Pele played unbeaten for the entire year, the club was the best in the country and the players in those days played with their heart and soul for the club.
“Pele produced more junior and senior nationals than any other club in Guyana since Clyde ‘Oiler’ Watson became the first from the club to wear national colours in 1972. Today I don’t think the young players have the pride or feel the honour when they put on Pele colours and I believe this is the same case with many other sports…When we played and heard our team chant or saw the fans rooting for us we had that different feeling and would give our all on the field for our club,” Arthur said.
The football stalwart said he hoped that the visit of Pele, the world’s greatest footballer, would spark renewed interest for the sport in Guyana and that hopefully the youths would get a chance to talk to the great man about what he did to make him so good for so long.
“This visit might be a bit expensive but it is a wonderful thing for football in Guyana and I hope the new generation uses it to inspire them to greatness.”
Durk Archer, the son of former National Terrence Archer, is the present Pele captain and Arthur says that since Monty Wilson became the first Pele captain, Wendell Manifold, Patrick Barton and Vibert Butts have all led the Pele team, the defending K&S champions.
“Pele has touched thousands of people all over the world and I hope that the players today are taught what is really loyalty to club and play for the love of the game. If they do that and work hard everything else should fall into place.”
Arthur who hails from Albouys Street (school street), Albouystown, started his football career at a very tender age and was nurtured in the sport by Surinamese August Outar who was responsible for turning around Guyana’s football and hockey, taking them to another level.
Arthur says that while the standard is not as high as it used to be on the field, he believes the club has maintained a similar style to the one which brought them so much success in the early days.
“Some of the senior players now would have struggled to make our under-16 team…so high was the standard back then. At one time Pele was like the Academy for football in Guyana and I hope the King (Pele) and the old heads at the club can motivate the present crop of players to continue making Pele and Guyana proud. (Sean Devers)