Separating the wheat from the chaff

A short but very to-the-point piece caught my attention a few days back at the 3VV. Written by Alberto Cunio, the text elaborates on the recent and premature exit of the Palmeiras sub-19 team from the São Paulo Cup, the largest Cup for junior players in the country.

Yes, Palmeiras were eliminated. Again. This time in the quarter-finals. And Cunio expresses all his rage, shame and frustration while pointing to the fact that Palmeiras have NEVER won the São Paulo Junior’s Cup in any of its 43 editions. Only twice have Palmeiras made it to the finals. While a team like Ponte Preta have two titles in seven finals played. Ponte Preta.

Not only are Palmeiras’ performance appalling, but nothing is done to resolve the problem. As if the whole thing boils down to bad luck or whatever else. Something normal.

It’s not. And here I will quote Cunho word for word: Palmeiras have always had a weak academy. Almost all São Paulo clubs are proud of their ability to reveal new talents. At Palmeiras, the academy is synonymous with clientelism, personal favours, nepotism and neglect. Combined with pure and simple incompetence.

While a few kids wearing the Palmeiras jersey showed talent on the pitch, Fluminense announced they will shortly and progressively promote up to ten of their junior players to their A team.

Palmeiras of today carry how many players – the five goalkeepers excluded – revealed from their youth sides? Only one: striker Vinícius (Patrik came from Palmeiras B not from the youth sides and Wellington has not yet made his debut although he’s training with the big boys). Do we have reason to be optimistic? Do the few kids standing out have much reason? No, these are not trick questions…

Palmeiras need urgently to reform their youth academy. At this point, any revolution is better than another 40 years of decadence.

— ooo —

And a good piece of news just came in: Palmeiras have signed a master sponsorship contract with Kia Motors worth roughly US$40 million over three years, with extra grants coming in in 2014 (the year of the club’s 100th anniversary). Nice one!

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