World Cup Legends: Portugal and Matateu

by Alan Robins

matateuFor a period Lourenço Marques [Maputo since Mozambique’s independence from Portugal in 1976] was a source for some of Portugal’s great players. Vicente, Hilario, Mario Coluna all started their journey from the Alto-Mahé suburb of the city. One perhaps less well known was Sebastião Lucas da Fonseca – Matateu.

Matateu, born on the 26th July 1927, and raised in Alto-Mahé played in his youth for local teams João Albisini and Manjacaze before moving to 1º de Maio, a local club controlled by C.F Os Belensenses of Lisbon.

In 1950, Portuguese giants, S.L. Benfica were touring Mozambique and played against a representative side from Lourenço Marques with Matateu up front. Matateu scored in the match and impressed a Brazilian scout enough to contact Belensenses to recommend they quickly sign him. The club duly acted and in 1951 Matateu moved to Lisbon.

On his debut, he scored twice in defeating Lisbon rivals, Sporting 4-3. In his first season he netted 17 times as Belensenses finished fourth. Tall, physical and stocky, Matateu was adept with both feet, had pace and dribbling ability and a cannon of a shot. O Belém had a gem on their hands. The following season Matateu scored 29 goals as finished third. He also made his debut for Portugal in a friendly against Austria. Matateu would go on to play 27 times for Portugal up until 1960 scoring 13 times, including in 1955, Portugal’s first defeat of England earning the nickname ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’ from some parts of the English press.

Whilst domestically, the league title would elude Belensenses, Matateu would remain a prolific goal scorer. Between his debut season and 1960, Matateu never netted less than 14 goals in a season – 1954-5 being the standout when he scored 32 goals. His goals during this period ensured O Belém never finished less than fourth and took them to a Taça de Portugal title in 1959-60 as well as two Taça de Honra de Lisboa victories. After 1960, age and injuries were catching up with the striker and in 1964 after 219 goals in 289 games he moved to second tier Atlético Club de Portugal helping them to promotion the following year. Relegated the next season Matateu left but carried on playing in a series of amateur teams in Portugal and Canada until well into his forties.

Arguably Matateu is one of the players that led the way for the acceptance of black African footballers in Portugal. By 1960 there were around thirty Africans in the Portuguese league from Portuguese colonies. More would follow, notably another player to make his way from Lourenço Marques – one Eusébio.

GREATEST SQUAD – STARTING XI [4-3-3]

VÍTOR BÁIA

FERNANDO COUTO       HUMBERTO COELHO

JOSÉ PINTO                                                                                                              HILÁRIO

MÁRIO COLUNA             PAULO SOUSA

RUI COSTA

LUÍS FIGO                                                                                        CRISTIANO RONALDO

EUSÉBIO

 

GREATEST SQUAD – RESERVES

GK: MANUEL BENTO

GK: VÍTOR DAMAS

RB: ANTÓNIO VELOSO

LB: RUI JORGE

CB: GERMANO

CM: JOÃO MOUTINHO

CM: CARLOS MANUEL

LW: FERNANDO CHALANA

LW: ANTÓNIO SIMÕES

RW: JOSÉ AUGUSTO

ST: JOSÉ ÁGUAS

ST: MATATEU

 

created by Alan Robins                                                    images by Jorge Manuel Martins

1 Response

  1. Ana says:

    You should never leave Damas on the bench for starters. The rest of the team, brilliant. If they were playing today, a win by 15-0 (15-5 with Baia starting) would be considered to be a poor result. :)

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