The team with the most goals in football history has resurrected its connection with the African giant
Brazilian top division side Santos FC have released their third kit for the 2022-2023 season in a move that taps into the club’s experience in Nigeria over five decades ago.
Santos, Brazil’s second most successful club, on Thursday (September 15), launched and began the sale of this season’s third kit.
Interestingly, the new kit draws into Santos’s connection with Nigeria and a glorious moment in the 60s when the club, led by the great Pele, momentarily stopped a war in the West African country.
The Nigerian-Santos connection
Santos FC prides itself as the club that, for a couple of days, stopped the Nigerian civil war in the late sixties.
The year was 1969. During one of Santos’ famous globe-trotting tours, Peixe claimed they arrived in the city of Benin to play a friendly match with the Nigerian national team.
The brutal civil war, fought between forces loyal to the federal government and the separationist Biafra fighters between 1967 and 1970, is believed to have claimed more than a million lives.
And in February 1969, when the friendly match supposedly took place, it was at its fiercest.
But knowing that Santos had Brazil and football great ‘King’ Pele in their ranks, the two warring parties agreed to a ceasefire to allow Nigerians to watch the game.
With the war interrupted, 25,000 spectators trooped into the stadium to see a Pele-inspired Santos claim a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Edu and Toninho Guerreiro.
The win, however, did not matter to Santos as much as being able to stop a war so people could watch the team of the ‘King of football’.
About the new kit
Santos have drawn on that remarkable experience in the design of their new kit.
According to Terra, the jersey model features different graphics based on Nigerian culture and other African ethnicities, alternating between black and grey.
Nosso novo #MantoSagrado já está completo! Um agradecimento em especial aos patrocinadores que toparam adequar a sua marca ao novo uniforme para juntos celebrarmos o nosso legado da paz. 🇳🇬🐳 pic.twitter.com/n3U1ma7kqX— Santos FC (@SantosFC) September 17, 2022
On the back, below the collar, are the words: ‘Nigeria 1969’ and ‘The Day the War Stopped’ (translated).
The inside of the collar features the phrase ‘Juntos Pela Paz, Juntos Pelo Futebol Alegre‘, meaning ‘Together for Peace, Together for Joyful Football‘.
The phrase pays tribute to that historic moment during the war. And also to the exciting similar playing styles of Santos and the Super Eagles, marked by the era of great players like Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, and George Finidi.
Santos will wear the new kit for the first time on September 27 in their Brazilian championship match against Athetico-PR in Vila Belmiro.