Why Waldemar?

You might wonder: who is Waldemar Lemos? Why did he become the coach of Flamengo twice? And, most importantly, why was he booed at his presentation?

These questions – and others – are what the ESPN+ mini-documentary will answer. Or at least attempt to. Either way, it's worth checking out the most iconic moment in Brazilian football history of the last 20 years and probably the biggest sports meme in the world.

Folha de São Paulo even did a good piece on the documentary, I highlight:

In the post-game press conference, Oswaldo sadly calculated: “Adding Flamengo, Fluminense, São Paulo, and Vasco, I have 14 months of unpaid salary.” And why didn't Waldemar leave with him? The answer is simple: “I was on a permanent contract (CLT),” he says in the documentary, adding that he wouldn't resign, like any good CLT. So, Waldemar conducted training as usual on that Tuesday, the 14th.

With no money, President Hélio Ferraz wanted a cheap solution. At some point, they came up with the name Waldemar Lemos, a homegrown solution (apparently, Hélio took a tip from goalkeeper Julio Cesar). The striker Edílson, also known as Capetinha, gave an interview saying that the team preferred someone familiar. And he mentioned Waldemar.

Waldemar agreed, had an excellent campaign in late 2003, and took the red and black to eighth place. Nonetheless, he was let go at the end of the year.

The reenactment that the documentary provides with all the people involved is delightful. Cícero Mello admits that he didn't realize at the press conference that Mr. Waldemar and Waldemar Lemos were the same person. Peruano, the leader of the taunting, recalls that they wanted former striker Nunes and were prepared to insult any other name.


The documentary does well to delve into Lemos' life, a suburban from Realengo who still does great social work with children from the neighborhood to this day. Lemos went on to coach other teams and even returned to Flamengo in 2006, only to be fired after taking the team to the Copa do Brasil final – where the coach was Ney Franco.


Literally incredible.

Porque Waldemar?
– Directed by: Mendel Bydlowski and Wagner Patti.
– 3-episode series (52 min. each).
– Premieres on ESPN, Sat. (14), at 10 p.m.; other episodes on the 21st and 28th (in full on Star+, starting on Saturday).