Rio de Janeiro - The Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) said on Thursday it is backing national football legend Zico's bid to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
The endorsement was a big boost for Zico, 62, who has previously conceded lacking support from Brazil's footballing top brass. However, to establish himself as a formal candidate he would still have to get backing from four other countries.
"Zico has our support to pursue his candidacy. If he gets the other four signatures, the CBF will back his application," the body's president, Marco Polo Del Nero, said in a statement.
Zico - who has managed several teams including Japan and Iraq as well as latterly Indian club side Goa - has no experience in international football administration.
He said he was "happy with the response," which he called a "kick-start" to his bid to win the FIFA top spot.
Blatter announced his intention to stand down on June 2, shortly after winning election to a fifth term, amid a corruption scandal sweeping through the FIFA executive committee. Brazil had been one of the countries voting to extend his mandate.
Blatter announced last week that the election for his successor would be held on February 26, 2016.
UEFA chief and French favourite Michel Platini - who crossed swords with Zico on the football pitch in the 1980's including a memorable 1986 World Cup semi-final - is seen as a frontrunner.