17 06 2013 Brazil Week One

Soccer :  Football in Favela Rochina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the biggest Favela in South America The first week of being in Rio de Janeiro was a very slow one. Traffic everywhere like no tomorrow but we encountered so many friendly people. © AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY Going to the Maracana was an eye opener. The area has changed so much since I was last here 13 years ago. Soccer :  FIFA 2014 World Cup Brazil - One Year Countdown But the highlight of the first week was going to the biggest Favela in South America. This shanty town is also the location for the computer video game FIFA Street. Soccer :  Football in Favela Rochina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the biggest Favela in South America I will never confess to being an expert on football. I have my opinions but thats about all. Formations, tactics are too complex to understand. Football is supposed to be simple, but after spending a week with Ajax years ago to seeing how football is being played in England to spending almost two weeks with the old coach of Japan, the beautiful game is played in so many ways. What I saw in the Favela though was nothing short of eye opening. Youngsters no older than 7 or 8 running bare feet around a Futsal court controlling the ball as though it was super glued to their feet. I swear these boys would have beaten a professional team. Soccer :  FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup - Group A : Brazil v Japan Opening ceremonies are usually boring for the photographer on the pitch, but FIFA thankfully gave us some passes so that we could document the goings on in the back of the stadium in the capital of Brasilia. Soccer :  FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup - Group A : Brazil v Japan   Dancers dressed in every competing nations national dress were followed by an enthusiastic and magnetic dance sequence involving people dressed as grass with other dancers holding up footballers. This was a stark contrast to the goings on outside the stadium. Soccer :  FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup - Group A : Brazil v Japan   Mass protests against the Government were being staged. The Olympics and World Cup are to be paid for by the taxes of Brazilians with the promise of much needed better transport. The locals are not happy. The stadiums are being built but nothing else. Back inside the stadium Brazil cruised to a 3-0 victory. Japan had no say in the matter. The first three minutes perked up my confidence no end. Naymar running past me after scoring a wondergoal. Soccer :  FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup - Group A : Brazil v Japan   Being at the other end of the pitch and having a stinker is not the most ideal way to start any tournament. It was nice to get this in the bag and syndicated to the AMA clients within the first five minutes.Soccer :  FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup - Group A : Brazil v Japan     The last ten minutes was spent with a wide angle lens on shooting the fantastic and colourful stadium with a sunset sent from the football photography gods. Soccer :  FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup - Group A : Brazil v Japan   When after most games have finished it is a simple case of packing up and going home. Not here! The main mandate for me being here is to document the football culture and stadiums of Brazil as a prelude for the FIFA 2014 World Cup next year. I spend another half hour doing more stadium views. Soccer :  Football in Recife, Brazil - host city venue for FIFA 2014 World Cup   We then fly to Recife through the night. First we land at some city near the Equator, then to Fortaleza and then we get off at Recife. The aeroplanes run  like a bus service. The Recife stadium was the last to be constructed. Back in October 2012 there was apparently nothing here. Now there is a fully open and working World Cup stadium. Soccer :  FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup - Group B : Spain v Uruguay   The Spain v Uruguay game is like a testimonial. Well it is to us! The locals are entranced by the beautiful football being played by Spain. They have seen nothing like it before. However you can only stare at something spectacular for so long. The last 15 minutes evolve into a singing and shouting match between the three main clubs of the fans in Recife. It was like being at Villa Park, with WBA, Birmingham City and Aston Villa fans all shouting things at each other. Soccer :  Football in Recife, Brazil - host city venue for FIFA 2014 World Cup   Only the next day do I fully understand the football rivalry here after the one of the hotel workers drives us out to his house where we meet his son dressed in the red and black kit of Sport Club do Recife. I learn about the three Recife clubs, Sport Club do Recife, Clube Náutico Capibaribe (known as Nautico) who play in a Stoke City kit and finally Santa Cruz who live in the giant stadium that used to hold over 110,000 fans. Soccer :  Football in Recife, Brazil - host city venue for FIFA 2014 World CupAt 3pm the locals just gather on a football pitch and play football. Soccer :  Football in Recife, Brazil - host city venue for FIFA 2014 World Cup   We snap away until one of the players stops playing and shouts at us “GRINGO”…  gringo is not necessarily a bad word. It is slang but is derogatory only in its use and context. We decide to leave and go to the city to capture some city views. We are treated to another wonderful sunset. This time on the beach of Recife. Soccer :  Football in Recife, Brazil - host city venue for FIFA 2014 World Cup   Hopefully these type of pictures will be used to accompany fluffy words written by the magazine journalists about the culture of Brazil in the run up to the World Cup next year.Soccer :  Football in Recife, Brazil - host city venue for FIFA 2014 World CupWith no time to stay in the humid climate and enjoy the weather, we are up at 5am and fly to another World Cup destination, Fortaleza. Set on the Atlantic Ocean, this city has another feel to it unlike the ones we have visited so far. Soccer :  Fortaleza, Brazil - host city venue for FIFA 2014 World Cup   Colourful, almost Caribbean, we feel safe despite some locals saying we will be shot – or were they telling us that this was the place that the Police shot dead two fans before a Fortaleza derby a few months back. Soccer :  Fortaleza, Brazil - host city venue for FIFA 2014 World Cup   Another striking stadium, however already I know that it will be almost impossible to cover a game a day at the world cup. The logistics for travel is impossible. My over riding concern though is still the language. Why did my beloved council/government ‘make’ me learn French at school? During my travels, Spanish is the language that should be taught in my opinion.  If the locals don’t speak English, simply pointing to yourself and saying “Manchester United” usually results in a reply of “Van Persey…”

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2 responses to “17 06 2013 Brazil Week One

  1. Richard Holt

    Beautiful stuff Matt.

    Richard Holt

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