Nov 082013

Whilst Botafogo of Rio de Janeiro stumble around the top four of Série A having lead the league for much of the season, the Botafogo club based in João Pessoa in the north-eastern state of Paraíba, were crowned champions of Série D.


In front of a crowd of 19,619 spectators at the Almeidão, Botafogo Futebol Clube da Paraíba overturned a 2-1 defeat in the first leg, and triumphed with a two goal win against their southern opponents Juventude. The winning goal came in the last minutes of the game, as Botafogo attacker Rafael Aidar made the score 3-2 on aggregate.

The distance between the two clubs, from João Pessoa to Caxias do Sul, is around 3000km as the crow flies, and demonstrates the obstacles faced by many Brazilian sides.

However, this didn’t dampen the spirits of the two sides as, after all, both were already promoted to SérieC for the 2014 season thanks to the set-up in the Brazilian fourth tier. Anyone who reaches the semi-finals of the play-off tournament at the end of the season will be promoted, which meant the two finalists will be joined in Série C by Tupi from the state of Minas Gerais, and Salgueiro of Pernambuco.

Juventude issued a club statement after the game, praising the hospitality they received in the far flung city of João Pessoa; a rare show of respect in the spiky, money driven, world of football:

“The directors of Esporte Clube Juventude, thank the representatives of the Botafogo Football Club for the reception, warmth and welcome [received], especially the president’s “Belo” Nelson Lira.

“The treatment offered to the Juventude delegation João Pessoa last weekend was exemplary, and showed that in football there is still room for warmth and respect, something that should be the rule of interaction between associations. [Juventude] congratulates Botafogo-PB on their Série D title.

“The two clubs are deserving of this success. Until Série C! ”

As Botafogo claimed the spoils, the crowd which gathered to watch the game spoke volumes about the difference in the attitudes towards football in the north-east of Brazil, when compared to the more complicated situation further south. The attendance of 19,619 for this game in Série D outdid the recent Rio derby between Botafogo FR and Vasco da Gama, which attracted a mere 15,152 fans to the Maracanã.

Football in the north-east of Brazil is starting to get more English language coverage, thanks to articles like this by James Young. The awareness of these football mad areas in the north will only increase as Salvador, Recife, Natal, and Fortaleza, will be amongst the 2014 World Cup host cities.

One of the sides mentioned in that article, Santa Cruz, also tasted success recently, having just been promoted to Série B for the 2014 season. Their semi-final against Betim saw 60,000 (sixty-thousand) fans pack into the Estádio do Arruda, in Recife.

So whilst the big name players might be knocking around the southern states, the big name teams are gathering crowds, and momentum, in the north-east, regardless of the division they play in.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>