Part one::July 1999 ::
I still remember it like it was yesterday: Cacau's arrival at Munich airport. He got here on July 12, 1999 at 14:27hrs on Brazilian airline VASP after a stopover in Brussels. It was a hot day - 32 C. He wore a slightly shabby brown suit and carried a small bag with some clothes and some change. I remember him smiling at me, and the relief in his face that he had found me. It was at this moment that I felt on my shoulders the weight of responsibility that I had accepted; it was like having a newborn child.
Of course, I remember my arrival in Germany years ago. It had also been very hot on that day in May 1981. Cacau was only 2 years old then. Everything had been new and alien to me, the greenery, the apartment blocks, and the cars racing down the highway at a speed of 200 km per hour…
I tried to make him feel at home as much as I could. To relax, I took him to the soccer field in Oberschleissheim right after we got home. He was delighted to see such a well-maintained soccer field. I sensed that he would really like to play in a team as soon as possible. I will never forget his remarks: "Not for nothing do people in Brazil say that the Germans are organised best". After that, we went for lunch to a Greek restaurant. There I told him about my experiences in Germany. I wanted him - following my example - to learn the German language as soon as possible, because only then people would respect him and it would make his start so much easier. I didn't want him to fall into the same trap as many of his fellow Brazilian players in Germany who don't know how to speak German and end up just parroting what other people tell them. Most of these players would soon return to Brazil without ever having gotten to know this country.
The language aspect was vital for me. Everyday after breakfast in the kitchen I would teach him the basic German language.
On July 15th, I took him to the training grounds of Türk Gücü, but unfortunately just that week the team was leaving for a week to Dillingen for their pre-season training camp. So Cacau joined them right away. I couldn't go along due to show engagements outside Munich and other commitments, which needed to be taken care of. But once back in Munich, I immediately drove up to Dillingen to watch him play in his first match in Germany. It was just a friendly match and he played only for 20 minutes because the paperwork hadn't been sorted out yet. I will never forget his contact with the ball. With his back to the defender he passed the ball with his heel to his teammate, turned around quickly and ran to the front to take up the ball again. On that day, I thought to myself: "This boy will go a long way".
He was however still very frail and I was afraid that other players could injure him.
I was very satisfied with his performance, and therefore surprised by his complaint: "Did you see that? They didn't pass me the ball… What now Osmar?"
I tried to calm him down and gave him advice: "You have all the time in the world to develop physically and improve your tactical game. Try to score goals, fall back with the others and go forward again. Don't complain; the Germans don't like that". I knew that impatience was his weakness, but his quality as a player was there without a doubt.
One has to remember that Cacau came from Brazil and he had no experience in anything. He didn't even know how to do stretching exercises to prepare himself before training or games. I got Manú, a former player, who stayed at my house as well, to instruct Cacau.
When he came back from the pre-season training camp in Dillingen he told me: "My God, I have never eaten that much chicken in my life!" Due to religious reasons his Turkish teammates didn't eat pork, which usually is the Germans' favourite meat.
I remember some more anecdotes (nowadays I laugh about it). July 25th, a Sunday. I had just returned from an engagement in Konstanz. Cacau had stayed back in a hotel at Munich central station so that I could pick him up at around 11am. My mobile rang; it was one of the Türk Gücü representatives, worried that I wouldn't show up at the hotel. He urged me to come right away. Upon arriving at the hotel I quickly learnt about the reason for the gentleman's urgency. Cacau had called his then girlfriend Tamara in Brazil and the call cost US$250. But that wasn't all. The following weekend I left him at home and bought one case of 1.5 litre Coke bottles. When I returned home a few days later, the case was empty!
I realized that I couldn't leave him alone and decided to let him accompany me wherever I went. He came along to our concerts and learnt how to set up and dismantle the sound system as well as distribute flyers to the audience. At a gig in the town of Freiburg, I once asked him to position my percussion set in the centre of the stage for my solo performance. I called for him; he just didn't show up on stage. I called again, no reaction. During the break I asked him why he hadn't come to help me. He answered that he had thought that I wanted HIM to do a samba solo on stage…He isn't that flexible in the hips yet, is he??!
On July 21st, we drove to the town of Traunstein to take part in an open-air concert. On that day the local soccer team of that town played a friendly match against famous Portuguese club Benfica Lissabon. The Benfica coach at that time was Jupp Heynkes, a German. I was really close to asking the coach of the Traunstein team, whether they wanted to have Cacau play with them as support. In the end I didn't do it, they most probably would have been insulted. We met soccer legend Eusébio and I asked if he could take a picture together with Cacau. Cacau was really happy. A few years later, Cacau played again in that soccer stadium, this time for VfB Stuttgart.
:: August/September1999 ::
From July 29th till August 2nd we had shows in the Germany (Landshut, Lindau) and Switzerland (Geneva, Lucern). I used the opportunity to take along Cacau so that we could present him to the Swiss club Grasshoppers Zurich. They also had six other players who had come directely from Brazil. One of them was Michel XV an 18 year-old midfielder from Piracicaba, who was a good player. Cacau scored a total of five goals in three test games. The Grasshoppers' coach, a Brit whose name I can't recall, was against offering Cacau a contract, because he preferred players with a minimum height of 1.85 metres - Cacau was 1.75 m. When I received the bad news, we were in Düsseldorf at the Rheinterassen playing there with the band on a beautiful summer evening. My mobile phone rang and it was Mr. Svab, the then club manager of Grasshoppers. He asked me to pick up Cacau again. We all panicked because Cacau didn't want to go back to Brazil. Munich was the last straw!
Michel XV came to Munich together with Cacau. But he couldn't stay back because his German manager - an ex-soccer player - wanted US$200,000 as transfer fee; from a club like Türk Gücü which played in the fifth German league! A sad Michel eventually had to return to Brazil. I felt terribly sorry for him and was sad too, because him and Cacau got along very well and I would have loved Cacau to have some good company.
But in the soccer business not everybody sees the player's opportunities also as an opportunity for themselves. I went to the Munich suburban club called Unterhaching, because after seeing Cacau in action in a friendly match with Türk Gücü against Unterhaching's amateur team, all the players told me that he should play in a stronger team. However, I was convinced that it was better for him to be playing regularly in the Türk Gücü team for the time being than ending up as a reservist player on the bench of the Unterhaching team. The Unterhaching players were tactically and physically superior; Cacau wasn't ready yet to compete on that level. I knew right from the beginning that his only chance was to start small and work himself all the way up as and when he was ready. Until September 19th, he continued training with Türk Gücü and then he flew to Brazil to settle the final issues for his release from his Brazilian club.
:: March/June 2000 ::
On March 23rd, four days before his 19th birthday, Cacau returned from Brazil. He brought some unpleasant news with him. His former club in Brazil "Clube Nacional", a club he had in fact never played for, didn't want to formally sign his release papers. They had heard that Cacau did some test games in Germany. Instead they even tore documents and demanded a transfer fee of US$100,000.
I then made some inquiries with my sources and found out that Cacau's standard amateur contract would automatically expire in June 2000, which happened then as planned.
He would continue training with Türk Gücü and we watched their games on the weekends. We traveled through the whole state of Bavaria; it was a wonderful time.
During these 3.5 months - while waiting for his automatic release for the Brazilian club - I took him with us on our Samba Tuque Brasil tours. I wanted him to see how much we had to work to earn a living spending the nights on stage. I knew that those observations would be invaluable for himself in order to judge his own job better and also to understand his future supporters better if they wanted autographs. His career should develop without pressure; that was my goal right from the start. He shouldn't have any negative experiences because he was still very young.
During this time he also accompanied us to Switzerland, Austria and around the whole of Germany. During the week he helped out at home, learnt how to cook, iron his own clothes and make his bed. At home, his mom had been doing all that for him, he had gotten up every morning and left the bed as it was…but not with me! Cacau tended the garden and in the afternoons I drove him to church. He also knew when I was stressed because of work, phone or computer and gave me the space I needed.
One day we drove to the METRO store on Leopold Strasse to go shopping. While in the store, I observed a mix of joy and sadness in Cacau's eyes. Upon returning home he told me that he terribly happy to have gotten a toothbrush, it was the first in his life. I was really touched by that and even more determined to help him along the way. I then told him immediately what one of the cashier ladies at the METRO had said to me while we were paying. She said that I should present Cacau to a model agency because he was a really handsome young man.
:: July/December 2000 ::
Finally, along came the long awaited chance to participate in the preparations for the South league pre-season games. On the field against teams like Feldmoching, Neuperlach, Ismaning, Ingolstadt etc. the ball was rolling.
For one of these friendly matches Türk Gücü had to play in Dornach near Munich against the team from Heimstetten. Cacau played a fantastic game, scoring two goals.
After the game two diehard fans - in São Paulo they are called "corneteiros"- came up to us and the bigger one said: "What is this boy doing on these lousy soccer pitches, take him to Bayern München, he has to play side by side with Giovane Elber, he is very good!" I translated immediately and Cacau was ecstatic. We drove to our favourite Greek restaurant for dinner and celebrated his great performance.
On August 7th the season finally started with a game against Ebersberg. Türk Gücü won 4:1, but Cacau didn't score. I felt that this team had the abilities to advance to the next higher league. More victories in at-home and away games followed and soon they were leading the table. By now, Cacau had scored 9 goals and he was the biggest news of the season. Clubs like Unterhaching, Bayern München Amateurs and Nürnberg started noticing him. However to my regret I observed things going wrong at Türk Gücü - salaries in arrears, court cases with coaches, fired managers - like in Brazil.
Then came the game against Unterhaching Amateurs. Cacau's coach Ruthe on the one hand praised him in the Süddeutschen Zeitung, one of the leading German papers, but on the other hand he put him on the bench and substituted him only in the last 12 minutes of the game. Nobody could make any sense of that. I then knew that if there were going to be internal fights in the club of which Cacau would be the victim. They would have "torn him apart".
In a cup league game against Lohhof, which ended 1:1 after extra time, the team lost the ensuing penalty shoot-out. In those days, Lohhof played in the regional league. During the first half Cacau played an excellent game, Türk Gücü led 1:0. For the second half, the coach instructed him to play in the left midfield. Against another team he even positioned him on the right hand side to tackle the other teams forward, who weighed probably around 100 kgs. Cacau was not allowed to leave the midfield area otherwise he would have been substituted. The game was a 1:1 draw in the end with little audience on a grey and wet afternoon. It fit perfectly well with the situation the team was in; it was the last game of the first round.
:: January/June 2001 ::
In January they played an indoor tournament, the Unterhaching Indoors Masters, only five players on the field. When I saw the team line-up, I just couldn't believe my own eyes because the coach had nominated himself as a player. Every two minutes a player had to be substituted according to the rules - only the coach was playing all the time. The reserve player shouted from the bench: "Hey coach! You have to come out now." The spectators had a good laugh but the coach didn't bother and continued playing. Just imagine that situation - it was unbelievable!
The second tournament took place in Rosenheim on 27 January 2001. The following teams played: Türk Gücü, Bayern Amateurs, 1860 Rosenheim, TSV Grosshadern, Obi Wörgl and an All-Star team from the county. Cacau was elected best player of the tournament. The team came in third place after losing to 1860 Rosenheim in a penalty shoot-out. The most intense game of the tournament was Türk Gücü playing Bayern Amateurs, which ended in 2:2 draw. Cacau was brilliant and caught the attention of Bayern Amateurs' coach Bassemir. I had nearly missed this all-important moment of Cacau's career, because I couldn't find the venue. I was about to give up when I finally found it, just in time. Cacau was waiting for me at the hall entrance. I sensed how happy he was and that he wanted me to be part of that.
But as in life, in soccer there are also bad times. In February, we were invited to a pre-season club meeting of the club board at Pizzeria "Casa Mia" in Oberföhring. Topics for discussion among others would include the financial situation of the club and those of the players, who had not received their salaries for the last seven months. At that time, there were already several court cases pending, for example that of the coach suing the club. The lawyer Mr. Bierbach clarified that Türk Gücü would have to file for bankruptcy. Any player who wanted to leave the club should do that ideally right away, because the club was broke. 12 of the 13 players who had turned up for the meeting immediately agreed with this suggestion, Cacau was the only one left. The coach asked me to ask Cacau to sign a blank document. When I inquired with the lawyer as to what the paper was all about he said that it to do with the cancellation of Cacau's contract. I asked for a few minutes.
Cacau and I walked out of the room and I translated for him what had happened. I told him: "I will continue to support you, together we will get through this. Give all you have for the team, show your character. I know that it is going to be hard, but I will help you and your team is a nice one". Then we went back inside to tell them Cacau's decision to stay with the team. I saw the coach's disappointment in his eyes. Those days the club even had offers on the table for Cacau from a soccer agent from Munich, who offered DM 1,000 as premium for each successful contract signing. For someone like Cacau who hadn't received his last seven monthly salaries (DM 500 per month) that amount was really tempting. We declined nevertheless. Those weren't easy times!
After that the players from the second were transferred to the first team but they had no experience at all. Cacau didn't enjoy the training session because his teammates just weren't up to his level. The second part of the season was just about to start, so Cacau just took the lead and started playing well. All in all, he matured a lot during those days. Since he still didn't understand everything in German, I didn't even bother translating the negative comments in the press or elsewhere. I think that had really helped him a lot.
In March, Türk Gücü had a game against Eching at Dante stadium. Suddenly Werner Kern, a scout for Bayern Amateurs, appeared and asked for my permission to take along Cacau to the training sessions of their team. I wasn't very keen because my plan was to place him with a less-known team so that he could develop slowly and rise from the second team to the top team. However, I always left it to Cacau to have the final say and he was all for it. So I decided to accompany him, because it was interesting for me to see him play amongst much more mature and professional players.In all training sessions Cacau scored goals and during this long training cycle he also matured a lot more again. In the end Türk Gücü profited from it as well, because Cacau was in a better physical condition and he showed better tactical understanding as well. He proved that he could surely stand on his own in the regional soccer league.
After a few weeks with Bayern Amateurs, they only let him train in the areas off the pitch. While the others played on the field, Cacau had to run around it. I found that absolutely unacceptable. I decided after one training session to confront Gerd Müller - who was very friendly - and the deputy coach Mr. Niedermayer. Gerd Müller told me: "Place Cacau with another team if they do not want him here. He is very talented." Deputy coach Niedermayer agreed with Müller and added: "In July, Mr. Gerland will take over the team from me. If I had stayed on I would have taken Cacau in, because he plays very well." After these conversations I called the scout Mr. Kern who to my surprise told me the following: "Mr. Oliveira, you haven't been informed of our decision?" "No, I haven't Mr. Kern", I replied. Then Mr.Kern said that Cacau wasn't even good enough for playing in the regional league and regretted that very much. Then he disconnected. I was relieved that Cacau hadn't been there to listen in on the conversation. I didn't say a word to him in order not to depress him further.