Saturday, 19 February 2011

Never judge still water by its cover, goes the saying, and godonlyknows I See A Darkness should have learnt his lesson by now, for if proof of this was the cast of a Broadway musical the theatre manager would be hunting around for extra chairs to squeeze everyone onto the stage.

To start with which serpent lurking under which rose in which Scottish castle garden? The blowsy blondes of Salford, land of council flats with boarded up windows and petrol stations with bullet proof glass in the windows? Stack-heeled, Lilt-snorting Cruella´s from Swinging London? Muddy skinned and bendy as Play-doh Brazilian princesas? All have promised much but in the end let I See A Darkness down in one way or another, though not half as often as he’s let himself (and everyone else) down too.

And yet, as Deus himself must ponder on a daily basis, why do we never learn? Why do we continue to traipse after the fur tomara que caia and no calçinhas glamour pusses though we know heartbreak awaits? And at the same time, why do we remain blind and immune to the hidden charms of the peg-legged and boss-eyed mini-coxinha guzzler lurking quietly in the corner? Why must nice girls finish last? Why do we want both the mutton and the lamb? Is it thus we are doomed to suffer eternally?

Probably. But if we will not learn we can at least apologise.

A few weeks back I See A Darkness passed judgement on knock-kneed Santa Cruz centre half Leandro Souza on the basis of 90 jittery minutes against Ypiranga - ineffective will soon prove to be too kind a word.

And then last Sunday, Santa, who had lost three out of the previous four games ( victory over Sport providing the only relief), travelled to the Estado Gilení De Carlo in Cabo de Santo Agostinho, a spot better known for being the gateway to the beaches of Pernambuco’s so-beautiful-it-gets-boring-after-a-while southern coast.* The stadium might have been better designed by a deckchair man too, but it was packed to its badly put together rafters.

And with twenty minutes left buckets and spades were being chucked out of prams among the Santa support. Gilberto had given O Mais Querido an early lead, but as is becoming common the team had wilted soon after and with ten minutes or so left Cabense were 2-1 up. Then from a corner Leandro Souza jumped higher than everyone else and thumped in a header and Santa could go home with the feeling that it could have been better but it also could have been a lot worse. Such a show of derring-do would do no end of good – Santa Cruz beat the same Cabense team 2-1 at Arruda on Wednesday, as the second half of the Pernambuco championship started, and now sit two points behind leaders Central, who they play in Caruaru on Sunday.

Leandro Rosa Souza is a fine example of your modern Santa Cruz player, in that before he arrived at Arruda no-one in Recife had ever heard of him. Picked up from Arapongas Esporte Club, of Paraná, who I See A Darkness has also never heard of but who if nothing else possess a pretty nifty website, he is 24, weighs 80kg, and is 1.87m tall. He has previously played for Avai and Atlético-PR, and was born in Rio. That is about all the information available on the internet about Leandro, which suggests that the modern phenomenon of the endlessly twittering footballer has not reached the lower divisions of the Brazilian game.

I See A Darkness would like to add that he looks a bit like Lance Reddick, who played Cedric Daniels in The Wire, though with his free-spirited wanderings up the field a better comparison might be Lestor Freaman. Anyway, Leandro was immense against Sport and heroic against Cabense, and, because of his sterling work in helping steer Santa through their recent mini-crisis, is now one of I See A Darkness’s favourite tricolores, which he would no doubt be very pleased to hear, if he ever did. Or something. And I See A Darkness would like to apologise too, because as it turns out Leandro Souza is not ineffective at all, and he might even be quite the opposite, except that effective isn't really that much of a compliment.

* Which explains the photograph of the beach accompanying this piece.

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