Edson Dias’s dream is to open a football school in Basel, his adopted home. The former professional footballer from Brazil has lived in Switzerland for 28 years and has had this idea for some time – but it could finally become reality next year.
Dias began playing football when he was ten in Santos, a district of São Paulo. During his career he played in many countries, including Switzerland.
But a football school doesn't appear overnight. First of all he was legally obliged to form an amateur club for adults and to take part in a local league, starting at the bottom of the fifth division. In exchange, the city provided a good infrastructure, with artificial grass pitches. Thus Brazil-Basel FC was born in 2003. The project gradually grew and this year the team could win promotion to the fourth division.
Most of the players have Brazilian roots, but there’s also one player from Angola, one from Morocco and one from Ghana. The common denominator is being able to speak Portuguese. The coach is a Brazilian-Swiss. Dias, now 58, no longer plays but is the club’s president. His 41-year-old brother, Wellington, is vice-president and a regular player.
Edson Dias says there is strong demand for a school, which he believes is important for education. “There are also problems with youngsters in Switzerland,” he says.
(Images: Thomas Kern, swissinfo.ch; text: Claudinê Gonçalves, swissinfo.ch)