Nando’s silence

Zico’s older brother Nando was also a talented footballer. He was tortured by the military regime in Brazil and gave up his own career so his younger brother could flourish.

By Jamil Chade

Torture tells more truths than any confession under torture. The statement is by the Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos. And indeed, during the military government in Brazil between 1964 and 1985, it was these practices adopted by a system of repression that exposed the true nature of a criminal regime which, half a century later, has never been punished.

Torture also tells in part the story of Brazilian football, which at its height was used to mask the brutality of a regime that left hundreds dead and promoted forced disappearances. For the generals, Pelé with his shirt of the colour of the sun was the perfect light that tried to blind the critics abroad against a government that, for years, censored and killed.

Far from the glory of the Brazilian team in the late 60s and early 70s, a player felt, body and soul, what torture meant. He was Fernando Antunes Coimbra, one of Zico's older brothers.

Nando, as he was known, started at Fluminense. But his best moment occurred when playing for Ceará. He caught the attention of foreign clubs and Nando opted for the Portuguese club Belenenses in 1968.

But the dream trip abroad, instead of creating a platform to show Nando's skills, instead became the ending of his career.

Dark times
Unbeknown to him, his moves were being monitored by the repressive agencies of the dictatorship. In addition to being a player, Nando had ...

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