Luso Legend: Joe Francisco

Luso Legend: Joe Francisco

One of the club’s founding members, Joe Francisco, is this week’s Luso Legend.

How were you part of the formation of Vasco Da Gama Football Club?
It came about by Mossie [De Nobrega] and ten other guys. We all contributed R50 each and that is how the club was formed in a shop in Teer Vlei.

What has Vasco given you over the years?
It has given my family and children something to enjoy. Vasco has always been a family club from years back when it was an amateur club. Nowadays it is a bit more professional.

What is the Vasco philosophy?
We have always strived to reach out for the youth and bring the club through the ranks. But it was mainly to better the youth.

What image or mentality does Vasco try to instill?
Even back when I was coaching 20 years ago, whether one was at school, work or playing soccer, we always strived to be the best. It was all about what you put in is what you get out of life. You had to put in the hard work to get the best out.

Your two boys have also played at Vasco. Can you tell us about them?
My first boy (Carlo) started with the under-14s. That was the first team at Vasco, there was no Under-7s, 10s or anything like that. He started off with them while my youngest one (Ricardo) started at the age of five with Vasco. He, like my eldest boy, played with the first team at some stage.

Which players stand out for you as men whose careers were launched by Vasco?
Over the years many have gone on to have a professional career. There have been too many to remember, but players like Shaun Bartlett, Andre Arendse and Carlos das Neves have all gone on to become professional. Some have even reached an overseas level of quality and it all started at youth level at Vasco.

Vasco has always been known as a family club, why is it so important?
I believe any club isn’t as strong if there is no family background. If a whole family belongs, and if there is no split in the family, the club comes together.
On Sunday, family is what brings people together to watch a football game and it isn’t the same if it is done on an individual level.

Would you say promotion to the PSL has been Vasco’s best moment in club history?
Definitely! When we started we were in the fourth Cape regional division. Our aim was always to get to the highest division possible. It is a pity that we went down though.

What were the lessons learned from that Premiership campaign?
It is easy to say from an outsider, but for the coaches and players it is different. We played well and sometimes we didn’t score or we let in silly goals. It is difficult to analyze what went wrong, but I am sure they learnt many lessons.

Would the need to spend money in order to gain promotion into the PSL affect the fabric of the club?
Not at all, it depends on the shareholders whether or not they want to spend more and get a better quality player in. But one has to do that to get a better chance of reaching the PSL.