Cafu to swap San Siro for stint with the Miners

Brazil's double World Cup-winner to turn out for non-league Garforth Town
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The Independent Football

A midweek away game at Curzon Ashton is one of the more improbable challenges for a double World Cup-winning Brazilian, fresh out of Milan, but Cafu seems highly likely to be there come April, after Garforth Town made the 38-year-old their latest eye-catching capture.

The defender's arrival is yet another product of Garforth owner Simon Clifford's strong connections with Brazilian football which in 2004 saw Socrates arrive in west Yorkshire on a one-month deal as player-coach of "O clube de futebol amador mais famoso de mundo" – the world's most famous amateur club – as Garforth like to describe themselves.

Tadcaster Albion still talk about the day they played against Socrates in 2004 and managed to take a 2-2 draw out of the game. Lee Sharpe arrived at the Leeds club in the same season and two years later Careca, another former Brazilian international, made it out of retirement to follow the same path.

Though Clifford is talking down rumours of Cafu arriving as soon as next month, the player seems destined for Garforth's compact little Genix Healthcare Stadium three months later. "He's still only 38 and he was playing for Milan last year," Clifford said yesterday. "He's likely to be coming in April and just playing a few games for us, and it's an absolute honour to have someone like him lining up in our shirt, and I think he'll also add something on the field."

Garforth fans were busily brushing up yesterday on the particulars of a player who takes his name from his speed up and down the right flank which was reminiscent of Cafuringa, the legendary Brazilian forward of the 1970s. The defender has more than lived up to that billing, taking his position in Pele's list of the top 125 living footballers in March 2004. He has also been at Real Zaragoza, Palmeiras and Roma on his travels, picking up 142 international caps on his way. A glance at April's fixture list will have told him it might also be worth him acquainting himself with Bamber Bridge, Warrington and Colwyn Bay – though DVDs may be hard to come by.

Clifford aspired to even greater things when he bought Garforth in 2003, wiped out £100,000 of debt and declared he wanted to climb high up the football pyramid. The rather prosaic position of 12th in the Unibond League First Division is what "the Miners", to give them their official nickname, must currently settle for, even though a run of six away wins has recently broken a club record.

The Brazilian connections have made up for the hard work and, if Socrates' arrival on the turf on a rainswept November's afternoon four years back is anything to go by, then four more months of waiting for Cafu will be worth it. Socrates sat shivering in the dugout for 77 minutes before pulling off a tracksuit as the immortal words sounded from the tannoy: "No 2, Matt Higginbottom, for Socrates."

The Old Boys from Brazil: Major names to join minor league Garforth


Represented Brazil between 1979 and 1986, making 63 appearances for the Selecao and scoring 25 goals. As well as being a qualified doctor, he also holds a doctorate in philosophy. Made just one appearance for Garforth aged 50, during a one-month spell as player-coach at the beginning of the 2004-05 season.


Scored 23 goals in 60 games for Brazil. Made 161 appearances for Napoli, winning the Scudetto in 1990 playing alongside Diego Maradona. Played one game for Garforth, aged 45, during the 2005-06 season.


Made a record 142 appearances, scoring five goals, for Brazil between 1990 and 2006. Won two World Cups, in 1994 and 2002. Made 115 appearances for Sao Paulo, 163 for Roma and 119 for Milan.