May 30, 2004

Brazilian football, a great party

Thomas Kieller

Photo – Copyright Coritiba Football Club

A Coritiba player.

January 30, 2004 – For a reasonable price of 15 reals (6 $ US), I allowed myself to attend a top level match. Coritiba (5th in the 2003 Brazilian Championship) was facing Prudentopolis in the Parana state championship.

Arriving on the terraces of Couto Pereira stadium, a good surprise awaits the visitor who is looking for his reserved place. A gigantic concrete stair meets the eyes of the spectator. Every step represents a series of seats. In the general public section, there are no chairs. Oh! Oh! It didn't stop me. I have already seen many football matches. I read on my plastic ticket the place where I should sit down – Ring 02, row E, seat 15. But I knew that I would not sit down in this place. The one who sits at his assigned seat is maybe the only one to do so. I need say no more.

I sat down on one of the concrete benches which gave me an excellent view of the game and put me in the center of the action and frenzy of Coritiba's fans. That's what makes the Brazilian game so attractive.

Without waiting, I asked a vender for a paper cone with grilled coconut pieces and sprinkled with an unknown product. I dare to affirm that it was brown sugar. What do I know? I'm not much of a knowledgeable Brazilian. One thing is sure, I would have gladly shared with you my pieces of coconut, because I had a lot of it. The vender offers numerous local products such as churros with their hot unctuous caramel, some Brazilian beers, and of course the famous and refreshing guarana soft drink. Something to enjoy the game a little bit more.

Football is played ideally on a rather dry field. Ironically, that evening a storm swept down on the stadium. For thirty minutes, the players took a good shower. However, they gave of themselves entirely on the muddy field as true professionals.

The Coritiba's players rapidly imposed a fast tempo by bestowing intense pressure. More organized and especially more athletic, they attacked many times the right flank of Prudentopolis defense. Outclassed in their box, the visitors allowed a penalty at the 12th minute. Roberto Brum, the captain, touched the back of the goal with a blazing strike. 1-0 for Coritiba. Hysterical reaction in the stands. The supporters were screaming and dancing under the rolling of the drums. Even more, the lively fans gave us an improvised session of pyrotechnics.

During the match, songs, dances and goals are normally interconnected. After all, Coritiba won the match with flying colors despite a close score of 2 to 1.

Maybe the rain cooled down the high spirits of the principal actors. However, the players, one and all, gave everything they had. The fans shouted themselves hoarse after all the cheering and dancing for their team. Even under lesser than desired conditions, Brazilians have pleasure. Now imagine when the day is sunny and two top teams cross swords. The stadium is full. The game is wild. Excitation is at its most. It's pure frenzy. A Brazilian football match is worth a detour.