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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Brazilian soccer: The biggest fall from grace

brazilBy Ardain Isma

CSMS Magazine

I’m not a sport commentator, but I can safely say that I’m a close watcher of soccer—the sport that billions around the world can’t seem to go without. I played soccer when I was in primary school, and I was pretty good at playing goalie. I have to admit that football or soccer—as many of us now call it—is the only sport that has stolen my emotion, and when Brazil or Haiti is playing, it’s hard for me to turn my attention elsewhere.  Brazil’s crushing defeat at the hands of Germany and the subsequent humiliation that followed have long been a catastrophe waiting to happen—like a house built off the ground.

Going in to this match, I knew Brazil could not overcome Germany because for years Brazilian soccer was nothing but a myth, an enterprise of blatant corruption out of touch with the growing strength of soccer worldwide. Many analysts agree that The Brazilian Soccer Federation is rigged with corruption, controlled by an elite class that has yet to rise to the level of its counterparts in the BRICS nations and that bears no regards for the nearly 200 million fans in South America and, by extension, over a billion diehard fans around the world. BRICS is the acronym for the leading emerging industrial nations made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

“The biggest global sport humiliation in living memory is directly related to the trademark Brazilian elite’s ignorance/arrogance syndrome (and sense of entitlement). At the same time, you cannot aspire to become a BRICS “superpower” when your self-identity is constructed around a sport – football – debased by crooks.” These words come from none other than Pepe Escobar, prolific Asia Time writer of Brazilian origin.

When the game started, I was still at work and for the first time in many years, I lingered in my office, not wanting to go home while praying for some miracle to happen. I knew it would have taken a miracle to push Brazil to the finish line. My hope was dashed when my son called me to tell me what has already dreaded me to the core. Never in my wildest dream did I anticipated such devastating blow. Seven to one (7-1) speaks value for the Germans who knew why they went to Brazil. Again, here is Escobar in his gut wrenching piece:

 “The Brazilian team turned into a nervous wreck first of all for tactical/technical reasons; this was a team with no midfield playing against the best midfield on the planet. Blame it on their handlers, the Brazilian football federation and the “technical commission” they appointed; a talentless, arrogant/ignorant lowly bunch that mirrors, crystal clear, the arrogance/ignorance of Brazilian political/economic elites, old and new. As much as Brazilian police, quite ironically, dismantled a FIFA corporate ticket black market racket in Rio of all places (Scotland Yard couldn’t do it), it missed another racket – a spin-off at the shadowy corridors of Brazilian football. ……”

Escobar could not be any clearer. I may add this: What took place last Tuesday in one the biggest sport venues of the world was a gross disrespect to soccer fans everywhere. But this is precisely what happens when corruption reigns supreme. They tolerate the team, filling with a bunch of little millionaires knuckleheads who could ill-understand their role in history. And then they went on feeding Brazil with easy, throw-away teams to push it this far.

“There will be endless political reverberations about this 7-1 thrashing. It goes way beyond the (white) Brazilian moneyed crowd who could afford to buy FIFA’s tickets while despising President Dilma Rousseff’s spending on social welfare. It certainly has to do with the handsome profit of FIFA’s own funfest (US$4 billion, tax-free) supplied by the locals, as well as the overall bill (a staggering $13.6 billion). Compare it to the pitiful investments in education, public services, “urban mobility”, still appalling infrastructure – while no-holds-barred corruption reigns supreme. “

As for tomorrow’s consolation game against The Netherlands, I won’t be watching—not because I’m a coward, but because I can now feel a sense of liberation. I’m old enough to understand awkward manipulation.

Note: Dr. Ardain Isma is the chief-editor of CSMS Magazine and a professor at UNF. He may be reached at publisher@csmsmagazine.org.  

To read the entire article by Pepe Escobar, click this link: The Fall of a Super Power

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