Sinha (footballer)

Antônio Naelson Matias (born 23 May 1976), known as Sinha[1] or Zinha, is a former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. Born in Brazil, he has previously represented the Mexico national team. He also played at the 2006 World Cup.

Antônio Naelson.jpg
Sinha playing for Toluca
Personal information
Full name Antônio Naelson Matias
Date of birth (1976-05-23) 23 May 1976 (age 46)
Place of birth Itajá, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Height 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1985–1993 América-RN
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–1999 Saltillo Soccer 35 (1)
1999 Monterrey 17 (1)
1999–2017 Toluca 524 (61)
2014–2016Querétaro (loan) 48 (1)
Total 624 (64)
National team
2004 Mexico Olympic 3 (0)
2004–2013 Mexico 59 (6)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Club careerEdit

Sinha was born in Itajá, a city located in the northwest of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte. He began his career playing for Rio Grande do Norte's capital city team América FC.

Sinha arrived in 1998 to Mexico, when he joined CF Monterrey. In 1999, he moved to Toluca. Sinha is widely known for his dribbling skills, his accurate passing and his intelligence on the pitch as well as his leadership and long distance shot.

On February 12, 2017, Sinha achieved 600 official caps (including cup matches) with Toluca. This coincided with Toluca's 100 year anniversary.[2]

On April 30, 2017, Sinha was given a brief ceremony at the Estadio Nemesio Diez during the last home regular season game for Toluca.[3]

International careerEdit

He was part of the Mexican 2004 Olympic football team, who exited in the first round, having finished third in group A, below group winners Mali and South Korea.

He has also been called up to play for Mexico, although he is a Brazilian-born player, he became a naturalized Mexican citizen, after settling in Mexico for several years. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Sinha became the first foreign-born player to score a goal for Mexico in a World Cup tournament, scoring against Iran. He was called up to play again for Mexico, thus making him the first naturalized to be called up by Hugo Sánchez.

In 2005, he played in the Confederations Cup scoring a goal against Japan that helped Mexico win the match. Mexico finished in fourth place in the tournament. He was also called up for the national team to play in the Gold Cup.

During the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Sinha, and four other members of the Mexico national team tested positive for the banned substance of Clenbuterol and were removed from the team's tournament squad.[4] However, all players were exonerated as FIFA determined that the accused had accidentally ingested the banned substance through contaminated meat that had been served during a pre-tournament training camp.[5]

However, World Anti-Doping Agency appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to request a ban.[6] But on 12 October 2011 WADA withdrew this request after the full file was available for them.[7]

His final competitive match would come during a difficult time for the Mexico national team, as they barely qualified for the World Cup playoff against New Zealand.[8] Miguel Herrera found it necessary to only call up Liga MX players thus including the veteran Sinha on his roster. Sinha would sub in during both legs of the play-offs as Mexico successfully advanced to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[9]

Career statisticsEdit


As of match played 20 November 2013[10]
National team Year Apps Goals
Mexico 2004 5 1
2005 21 3
2006 10 1
2008 10 1
2009 3 0
2011 6 0
2012 1 0
2013 3 0
Total 59 6

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Mexico's goal tally first.
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. October 13, 2004 Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla, Mexico   Trinidad and Tobago 1–0 3–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
2. March 27, 2005 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico   United States 2–0 2–1 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
3. June 4, 2005 Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City, Guatemala   Guatemala 1–0 2–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. June 16, 2005 AWD-Arena, Hanover, Germany   Japan 1–1 2–1 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup
5. June 11, 2006 Frankenstadion, Nuremberg, Germany   Iran 3–1 3–1 2006 FIFA World Cup
6. June 4, 2008 Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, United States   Argentina 1–3 1–4 Friendly





  1. ^ "FIFA Player Statistics: Sinha". Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Sinha cumplió 600 juegos y sus compañeros lo hicieron llorar".
  3. ^ "Sinha recibió emotivo homenaje en su último partido de fase regular".
  4. ^ "Five Mexico Players Test Positive". ESPN Soccernet. June 9, 2011.
  5. ^ "FMF absolvió a acusados de dopaje". ESPNDeportes Mexico. July 10, 2011.
  6. ^ "FOOTBALL – THE CAS DISMISSES URGENT REQUEST FOR A STAY FILED BY OLYMPIAKOS VOLOU". The Court of Arbitration for Sport. 17 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  7. ^ "WADA withdraws CAS appeal in case of Mexican footballers". World Anti-Doping Agency. 12 October 2011. Archived from the original on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Sorprende a 'Sinha' ser convocado a la selección mexicana - Proceso". Archived from the original on 2017-02-14.
  9. ^[dead link]
  10. ^ Sinha at
  11. ^ "Zinha: A goal to remember". 14 June 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.[dead link]

External linksEdit