Açoriano Oriental
“Santa Clara is my life project”

Bruno Vicintin, new president of Santa Clara’s SAD, is here to stay and wants humility and ambition for the team

“Santa Clara is my life project”

Autor: Henriques Linhares/Nuno Martins Neves

When did the interest in investing in Santa Clara start to emerge?
I worked for 6 years voluntarily at Cruzeiro SC. It's one of the clubs in the city where I live. I spent three and a half years in junior training and two and a half years on the senior team. I was always impressed by the Portuguese market: I saw Brazilian athletes who left the country without success, came to Portugal and found great success. When I left Cruzeiro, I started coming to Portugal regularly. My father invested in Alverca, where I tried to help however I could, even though I never had an official position. I acquired football know-how and had the dream of having a club for myself. When I heard about the instability in Santa Clara, I was very interested because the club got great results in the field in the last two seasons. I started studying the situation, we started talking and we managed to close the deal. I am very happy

Did the fact that Santa Clara was performing well also weigh on your decision?
Indeed. Several athletes who worked with me played in Santa Clara. I have always followed this project closely. Bruno Lamas, Jean Patric, Allano, they all worked with me in Cruzeiro and then came here. What caught my attention was the fact that Santa Clara captured the market very well and built good teams. I wanted to understand why Santa Clara was so successful.

Assessing the potential of Santa Clara: how far do you think the club can go?
We have to be humble outside the club and ambitious inside it. Our goal, and not only for the next season, is to maintain Santa Clara in the main league. This is the challenge. The Azorean people fought hard to have a team in the main national league, for it to be the mirror of the Azores in Portuguese and European football. This is the main objective. I could come here and promise the Champions League, but the only thing I can promise is work and I think that, by working right, we can dream big.

Is this the medium-term goal? To reach European competitions?
Yes. We must dream of reaching European competitions. In fact, we did already, and we have shown that it is possible. Soon! The objective for this season is to stay in the main league. We lost eight athletes. Mister Mario Silva is facing the challenge of reassembling the team.
The two markets I know better are Portuguese and Brazilian. The best business opportunities in the Portuguese market are gone by now. We managed to hire Andrézinho, who is an interesting player. But the best ones were already gone when we took charge. That is why we are focused on solving the most urgent problems by resorting to the Brazilian market. But Santa Clara will not be one market only club. The intention is for it to be a world club, scouting in all markets.

Are you counting on keeping Coach Mário Silva?
Yes, I am. He did an excellent job. Also, President Ricardo Pacheco fought hard to renew his contract. Mario Silva has my full confidence and support. It will be a challenging season for all of us because we must "fix the car while it is moving". We must strengthen our team at the end of the [transfer] season, but I think we are doing well. We trust Mister Mário Silva, who did a beautiful job. Our intention is for him to continue with us for a long time.

You hired Rildo for a very significant amount. It wasn't usual at Santa Clara. Does your arrival come with this "financial muscle"?
I can tell you that Santa Clara changed its hiring model. Speaking of Rildo, he came from Grêmio, and was one of the club's biggest promises. Santa Clara has a history of success with Grêmio players: Lincoln, mainly, was also one of its biggest promises. We could only get him out of Bahia if we made a higher investment. Obviously, we must be conservative in the market but, due to timing and necessity, we decided to be more aggressive. It depends on the opportunities. We will always try to do our best for the institution.

Santa Clara is a club with no infrastructure of its own. Is that something you want to see resolved?
All Portuguese clubs fighting for European leagues have two similarities: investment in training and in infrastructure. It's like following a cake recipe. Obviously, it takes time; this kind of success is not achieved in the short term, but it is our goal. For instance, we have been talking to President Ricardo Pacheco about a future training complex. We will have to talk to the government as well, because we need all kinds of support. But I can say that our main intention is to invest in infrastructure and training. It is our DNA.

The Regional Government allocates an annual amount of 1 million Euros to Santa Clara. Have you ever met anyone from the Azorean executive?
We are very close to President Ricardo Pacheco and have been introducing ourselves to the government. We know that one of Santa Clara's main elements of support comes not only from the Regional Government, but from all Azoreans. When I go out on the street, I see the pride of the Azorean people, they already know me as the owner of Santa Clara. It is one of the great flags of the Azores in Europe, the world, and the Diaspora. There is success when everyone on site works for the same goal: players come and go, coaches come and go, managers come and go, but the institution stays. If everyone is on the same page – and I see a desire for this in all Azoreans, though that is not what has always happened – there will be success. We need not only support from the government, but from all Azoreans, because the region is our flag.

You said that, upon your leaving, Santa Clara will be in a much better position than it was when you arrived. Did you establish a deadline?
I may die tomorrow (laughs) but I have no intention of leaving the Azores. As I said, we all come and go. If we were to go today, the relationship between the SAD and the Club itself was already better than it was when I arrived. Santa Clara is the project of my life and I do not intend to fail.

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