Zoca had a short professional soccer career in Brazil. (Photo courtesy of Santos FC)
Former Long Island University men’s assistant coach Jair Arantes do Nascimento, Pele’ younger brother, passed away on Wednesday.
He was 77.
Nicknamed Zoca, Arantes do Nascimento was fighting prostate cancer and died at the Casa de Saúde hospital in Santos, Brazil.
“So sorry to hear that our good friend and assistant soccer coach at LIU in 1982 Jair Arantes do Nascimento died last night of prostate cancer,” Ramirez said on his Facebook page on Thursday. “Zoca as we called him was 77 years old. Rest In Peace my friend.”
Later, Ramirez wrote:
“We all knew him as Zoca and he was a wonderful human being. I first met Zoca at the Pele Soccer camps in 1978 and we became good friends. In 1982 Zoca became one of our assistant soccer coaches at LIU and when Manhattanville started a women’s program I recommended him for the job. Rest In Peace, my friend. We always asked him, how are you Zoca? And his answer was ‘Easy like a Sunday morning.’ ”
The news of Zoca’s passing was reported by many Brazilian outlets, including Otempo.com.
The funeral will be held Thursday afternoon at the Memorial Cemetery Ecumenical Necropolis in Santos.
It was not immediately known if Pele, who is two years Zoca’s senior, would attend the funeral.
According to www.Otempo.com, Pele generally does not attend funerals and recently avoid public appearances.
“In March of last year, he did not attend the funeral and burial of former attack partner Coutinho,” the website said. “At the time, he alleged commercial commitments in São Paulo.”
This is a letter that Zoca wrote to Arnie Ramirez. (Photo courtesy of Arnie Ramirez)
Zoca attempted to play professsional soccer and had a short career at Vila Belmiro, scoring four goals in 15 appearances. Later in his life, he was in charge of some of Pele’s companies.
This was the second death of a former member of the LIU soccer community who passed away earlier this week. Ex-player Alex Godelman died earlier this week.
This is a story about Zoca’s death at Otempo.com: