Joel Santana
Personal information
Full name Joel Natalino Santana
Date of birth (1948-12-25) 25 December 1948 (age 73)
Place of birth Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Position(s) Defender
Club information
Current team
Black Gold Oil
Youth career
1958–1962 Santos
1963–1971 Real Madrid
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1972 Vasco da Gama 37 (11)
1973 Olaria 29 (8)
1974–1975 Vasco da Gama 18 (1)
1976–1980 América de Natal 148 (45)
Total 232 (65)
Teams managed
1981–1986 Al Wasl
1986–1987 Vasco da Gama
1987–1990 Al-Hilal
1991 América
1991 Al Nasr
1992–1993 Vasco da Gama
1994 Bahia
1995 Fluminense
1996 Flamengo
1997 Corinthians
1997–1998 Botafogo
1998 Flamengo
1999–2000 Bahia
2000 Botafogo
2000–2001 Vasco da Gama
2001–2002 Coritiba
2002–2003 Vitória
2003 Fluminense
2004 Guarani
2004 Internacional
2004–2005 Vasco da Gama
2005 Brasiliense
2005 Flamengo
2006 Vegalta Sendai
2007 Fluminense
2007–2008 Flamengo
2008–2009 South Africa
2010–2011 Botafogo
2011 Cruzeiro
2011–2012 Bahia
2012 Flamengo
2013 Bahia
2014 Vasco da Gama
2017 Boavista
2017– Black Gold Oil
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of February 5, 2012
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of February 5, 2010

Joel Natalino Santana (born 25 December 1948) is a Brazilian football coach and former player.[1] The last team he coached was Vasco da Gama, in 2014.


Born in Rio de Janeiro, Santana played his entire career as a central defender in his native Brazil in the 1970s. He became best known as a player at Vasco da Gama, but failed to earn a cap with the national team.[2] In 1980, he retired as a player and moved on to club management with Al Wasl in the United Arab Emirates. While much of his management career has been with Brazilian clubs, Santana has also coached clubs in Saudi Arabia and Vegalta Sendai in Japan's J-League.

Santana is one of the few head coaches to win Brazil's Campeonato Carioca with each of the four big clubs (Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, and Vasco da Gama).[1] His playing style has been characterized as defensive, with the main objective of preventing the opposition from scoring.[3]

In 2004, Santana successfully kept Vasco da Gama from relegation to the second division of Campeonato Brasileiro in his fourth stint as club's head coach. A year later, he was hired by Flamengo to also save them from relegation, which he did successfully. Having established a reputation as an "escape artist" capable of rescuing teams from relegation, he returned to Flamengo in 2007 with the same goal. He not only prevented relegation, but lead the Rio state club to a surprising third place finish to qualify for the 2008 Copa Libertadores.[4]

In April 2008, Santana replaced his countryman, Carlos Alberto Parreira, as the coach of the South Africa national football team following a recommendation from Parreira himself who left the job due to personal reasons. In October 2009 Santana was dismissed from the position due to the poor results achieved by the team; most notably a streak of eight defeats in his last nine games as coach of the Bafana Bafana.[5]

Joel Santana returned for his fifth spell as Flamengo's head coach on 3 February 2012.[6] On 23 July 2012, Santana, after two consecutives loses, against Corinthians and Cruzeiro, was fired from Flamengo.[7]

On 8 April 2013, after Jorginho's dismissal, Santana was hired for Bahia. He worked for fourth time at the Tricolor from Salvador.[8]

Acting issues

In 2012, after a video featuring a post-match interview given by Santana during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup went viral as a result of his poor English language skills, he acted in a commercial for Pepsi, saying code-switching phrases such as "Ele quer saber se your dog has a phone" ("He wants to know if your dog has a phone number" - a tongue-in-cheek Brazilian Portuguese slang expression used when picking up women) and "Me dá uma Pepsi. Pode to be?" ("Can you give me a Pepsi? Can it be?" [sic]).[9]

In 2013, he became the star of another commercial: an ad series for Head & Shoulders, again making light of his poor English. Happy with this and the former success, Santana told Brazilian sports channel SporTV about his experience in South Africa: "[Speaking English publicly] was indeed risky. The English-speaking press, very nobly, said: 'We don't care whether you are saying it right or wrong, mate, your feelings are actually what we want to know about.' And I think, in football, one needs to have feelings, otherwise, if one just philosophizes, one will never go further. Because of this, at that time, I risked myself. It turned out to be a plus, because I figured out a way to be a good pitchman."[10]

Managerial statistics


Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Vegalta Sendai 2006 2006 48 21 14 13 043.75
Total 48 21 14 13 043.75


Playing honors

América de Natal

Vasco da Gama

Managerial honors





South Africa

Vasco da Gama


Al Wasl FC


  1. ^ a b Enciclopédia do Futebol Brasileiro Lance Volume 2. Rio de Janeiro: Aretê Editorial S/A. 2001. pp. 430–431. ISBN 85-88651-01-7.
  2. ^ Enciclopédia do Futebol Brasileiro Lance Volume 1. Rio de Janeiro: Aretê Editorial S/A. 2001. p. 99. ISBN 85-88651-01-7.
  3. ^ São Paulo empata e adia festa do tri[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Recuperação Archived 16 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "SA and Santana part company". BBC Sport. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
  6. ^ "Empresário de Joel confirma que técnico tem acerto com o Flamengo". Globo Esporte (in Portuguese). 3 February 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Joel Santana técnico do Flamengo". Lance! (in Portuguese). 23 July 2012. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  8. ^ Experiente e vitorioso, Joel Santana retorna ao Bahia pela quarta vez
  9. ^ "Joel Santana gasta seu inglês em campanha da Pepsi" (in Portuguese). Exame Abril. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Joel comemora o sucesso de seu inglês: 'Virei garoto-propaganda'". Sportv (in Portuguese). June 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  11. ^ J.League Data Site(in Japanese)