IN THE ELECTIONS TO CHOOSE THE NEW PRESIDENT OF BENFICA, FORMER 1960s STAR EUSEBIO AGAIN SAVES THE CLUB, BUT THIS TIME IN THE OFFICE The elections to choose the new President of Benfica closed in the early hours of this morning with the challenger (Dr. Manuel Vilarinho) defeating the President in office, Dr. Vale e Azevedo, by 62% against 38%. These elections enter the history books in Portugal, breaking the record for the number of voters, some 21,000. As Dr. Azevedo and his clique gradually took control of the club, suspicions were aroused. Benfica’s poor form in Europe (eliminated from the UEFA Cup in the first round by Swedish club Halmstad) and their lowly position in the middle of the Portuguese First Division classification did not help Dr. Azevedo. The opponent, Dr. Vilarinho, a former judge, promised in his campaign to deliver a Benfica which will always fight for the championship, something the fans have been used to over the decades. He revealed a secret contract with the Brazilian forward Jardel, the best scorer in Europe with arch-rivals FC Porto last year, now playing for Galatasaray of Istanbul. Dr. Vilarinho promised that if he was elected President, he would bring with him Jardel and Doriva, a fellow Brazilian. As the election drew near, both candidates were running level but the night before the election, historic club figure Eusebio opted for the Vilarinho camp, visiting the headquarters of the challenger for the Presidency of Benfica in a much-publisiced televised stint. This visit seemed to convince the 20% of undecided voters to sway towards the challenger, which was enough to oust Dr. Azevedo by a convincing margin. Eusebio may have hung up his boots, but he still scores goals, though not any more on the green!

Tim Bancroft-Hinchey Lisbon

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Author`s name: Editorial Team