Monday, 24 September 2007

Cacapa - The next Roque Junior?

Whilst watching the English Premiership highlights over the weekend, I couldn't help but notice the decidedly dodgy performance by Newcastle's Brazilian centre-back Cacapa. Throughout the game he seemed to be entirely off the pace and could be seen lazily wandering around the penalty area on most of West Ham's attacks.

The moment that really caught my eye is shown in the video below. Not only does he fail to clear the ball with his original header, but he then also fails to clear the ball a second time, taking a wild swing and miss.

His performance reminded me of another Brazilian defender who endured an incredibly rough time in the Premiership; the one and only Roque Junior. For five games in 2003 he struck fear into the hearts of every Leeds fan, as a catalogue of errors saw them ship goals galore. It is hard to really put into words just how awful Roque Junior was in a Leeds shirt, and considering he came to England with both World Cup (with Brazil) and UEFA Champions League (with AC Milan) winners medals, there were many wondering if the real Roque Junior had actually got off the plane, or whether he had been mugged and his place taken by some wannabee. It soon transpired that it wasn't an Ali Dia style-prank; Roque Junior really was that bad.

Cacapa's uncertain start is sure to bring back these memories for many, as despite his great pedigree as captain of Lyon's all conquering side, he seems to be finding the Premiership a bit of a struggle.

There has never been a truly successful Brazilian defender in the Premiership, and on the early season evidence that doesn't look likely to change. Chelsea's Alex probably has the best chance to impress, whereas Newcastle fans will just have to hope that Cacapa's current form is not a true indication of his ability. The rest of us will have to wonder why Premiership managers continue to purchase low quality Brazilian defenders, leaving the best of them for the rest of Europe.

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