Former player, coach, youth scout, adviser … wherever you go in Cape Town football you will see Luis de Faria.
Luis, when did you start your journey at Vasco da Gama?
I was playing for Portugal first and then Pepe (Dos Santos) called me up, when I was playing for Glenville. They wanted to start a new club in the Western Cape, and at that time I was on top of my game, and was called to play in the fourth division.
But in the third year, Vasco were doing well, and I joined them. We got promoted in 1983 and from there the club has grown.
Who are the best players you saw at Vasco?
If I had to pick I would say Shaun Bartlett, Thabo Mngomeni, Mario and Carlos Das Neves, Johnny De Sousa and Sandro de Gouveia. There were so many others, so many good players.
There was one player that we never got to see the best of, because of injury, and that was Carlos Tello. What a player!
He would have been the Franz Beckenbauer of South African football. He was a centre-back, but he could have played anywhere. He was quick, he was a leader and for me was the best player in South Africa.
Many people thought Carlos da Neves was better than what we saw, what are your thoughts on him?
Carlos was a special player. He was very deceptive and he was a player who had everything. He was the quickest player at close range and because he was skilful and technically aware, people thought he was slow but he wasn’t.
He was just very clever and a good passer of the ball, I don’t think he reached his full potential.
What about his brother Mario?
Mario, for me, was quicker than him, a very good crosser. I take my hat off to him; he was very unfortunate with a lot of injuries. That laid him back a bit.
Every time he was on top of his game he got injured, but that is football.
Sandro de Gouveia was another name which was considered to be the best ever at Vasco…
He was something out of this world; top class and quick. He left defenders standing and not knowing where he was going. He was a quick crosser of the ball and there are very few players I have seen like that in South Africa.
The way he used to play, the way he used to dominate us reminded me of so many players. It is a pity he came at the wrong time, if he was playing now he would be a millionaire.
When you look at the current squad at Vasco, are you left frustrated with the lack of quality compared to that era?
Times have changed, these are more professional days. If you compare the talent from those days to now, they were more passionate about the game.
If those players were given the opportunity now, they would have everything in their hands; most of those players would be millionaires.
What are your views on the current Vasco squad and their future?
If they can have the infrastructure right and in years to come they will be a force in South African football. It is not a bad squad that they have, but the reality is they are in a tough league.
It is always going to be tough, it is a promotion league, and everybody wants to get into the PSL. It requires players who have the mentality to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes like in the past. I think the PSL is where they belong.