ONE of the top scorers in the Brazilian first division has been the Guarani forward Creedence Clearwater Couto, named after the Fogerty brothers’ late-1960s Californian pop group Creedence Clearwater Revival. His emergence has led to the inevitable questions about his name, which he was given in honour of the favourite band of his father, Aflanio.
"People often think that it’s a nickname, but it’s not. It’s my real name, and it’s on my birth certificate. It’s difficult to write, even harder for Brazilians to pronounce, so they sometimes revert to calling me Paulista because it’s easier. And most youngsters today have never heard of the group, so I often have to repeat my name several times.
"The only thing that I regret is that some people are more interested in me because of my name than because of my qualities as a footballers."
Brazilian pundits have been praising Couto’s performances, and reminding us that Roberto Carlos was so called after a notable South American musician, while Brazil’s 1994 World Cup-winning captain, Dunga, was named after a translation of Grumpy from the Seven Dwarfs.
A former Brazil midfielder, Rai, the younger brother of Socrates, explained: "Everyone in Brazil has either a nickname or another name other than his first name. It’s just the way we do things, and if you don’t already have a funny name, we’ll make one up for you." Interest has also been shown in another striker, the 23-year-old Allan Delon Silva Dantas, who plays in the Mexican first division.
He was named after the French actor, Alain Delon, and was pleased that his parents’ second-choice name for him, Christopher Reeve Silva Dantas, did not get the green light.
His opinion? "I may not have such beautiful eyes as Delon, but I have charisma and plenty of success with the girls ..."
CHELSEA’S transformation has been more positive than that of FC Wil in Switzerland, where the former USSR and Dynamo Kyiv midfielder, Ihor Belanov, took over a majority share of the debt-ridden club. Belanov is no Roman Abramovich, but his company, Firma New Building Design, based in Spain, invested 450,000 in the team. That gave them 51% of the shares - and rather more of the trouble.
The Swiss media have nicknamed the club ‘Dynamo Wil’ as opposed to Chelski, and instead of Hernan Crespo, Adrian Mutu and Damien Duff, read Rosemir Pires dos Santos from Opava in the Czech Republic, Augusto Csar Santos Lima from Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras and Valentyn Poltavets from Arsenal Kiev.
Things did not start well for FC Wil in the new season, and they picked up only two points from their first seven games. Belanov’s patience finally ran out, and he sacked the coach, local hero Martin Andermatt.
He claimed that "the person paying the money can also make the decisions" - but that did not go down particularly well with the fans, who sent threats to the official website’s message board, while five members of the club, including the team doctor, threatened to resign.
President Roger Bigger, who was chastised for selling the club in the first place, pleaded: "The media and fans are often having a go at us, and that hurts. We are trying to save this club, and I think they should accept that and give us a chance."
But the local newspaper, Tagblatt, was not impressed, and commented: "For Belanov to go for the coach while not being able to help the club in any other way is surely not a clever move by the Ukrainian. Because unlike Belanov’s, Andermatt’s position at the club is a very strong one."
To make matters worse, FC Wil then lost the ‘Bratwurst Derby’ against St Gallen 4-1 in the first game under the regime of new coach Alexander Savarov.
He is an old chum of Belanov from the former Soviet Union, and he tries to communicate with the players in a mixture of Italian and French.
But at least they have won one game this season - a 1-0 victory over FC Aarau. That was the only positive result in 10 games, though, and they continue to prop up the table.