Junpiter Futbol Visits Football Stadiums in Brazil
The trip to Rio de Janeiro will not be completed without a trip to one of the most supported Brazilian clubs in Brazil. Taking the Subway Linha 1, from Saens Pena where I stayed to
The trip to Rio de Janeiro will not be completed without a trip to one of the most supported Brazilian clubs in Brazil. Taking the Subway Linha 1, from Saens Pena where I stayed to Largo do Marchado, all in all less than 30minutes, after which another 20mins of stroll, I have reached a dilapidated looking Stadium. Having said that, that’s the piece of history which I would always dream of step into.
The near 110 years old Estádio das Laranjeiras (Laranjeiras Stadium) has a humble 19,000 seating capacity and currently act as a training ground for the 2012 Campeonato Brasileiro Champion, Fluminense FC. And if you do read up on the internet, this Stadium was also the first home Stadium for Brazil National Team!
I made Fluminense Memorial Museum my first stop before walking into the historic Stadium. Welcoming me at the Museum entrance were a few life-size cutouts of the Fluminense players as probably it served as a gentle reminder to all visitors that you are entering into the Fluzão land! Next, my attention was on a gigantic Gardano trophy display which you would never miss it! It was an accolade awarded to Fluminense by Gardano Chocolate Factory for registering the most wins in the Carioca Championship during a three year period.
After having a photo taken with the gigantic Gardano trophy, we underwent a history lesson on Fluminense FC via a wall projection where our air-pointings were detected by the sensors overhead. It was really interesting to do that cause we have not seen such a thing in our domestic clubs or infrastructure yet. I think probably you will need to own a Football Museum first though!
As we moved forward, we reached another area of the Museum where the jerseys and football boots of Fluminense players who had went all the way to don the famous Yellow (Brazil National Team). Among those who were featured on the wall, there were Fred and Thiago Silva who represented Brazil in the World Cup this year!
Finally, we had arrived at the last area of the Museum before we went out into the sun – the Trophy Room! I just couldn’t believe that I am standing among the nicely polished cups and silver-wares! The Trophy Room was not exactly that huge, probably about ¾ of our typical 4-Room HDB flat, but every corner was filled with cups and displays! You could see some of the trophies were certainly as old as I am or not, even older. My finger started clicking away uncontrollably again.
The moment I have been waiting anxiously despite knowing for the fact that I could have done that earlier – the walk into the sun, looking at the historic Estádio Manoel Schwartz, or usually known as Estádio das Laranjeiras (Laranjeiras Stadium).
Having previously visited so many Stadiums as a football writer, Laranjeiras was certainly one of the oldest Stadiums I ever stepped into. However, this dilapidated Stadium was also one of the most iconic Stadiums I ever visited. The surfaces of some of the walls surrounding the Stadium were peeling, the steps were narrow, steep and slippery, and media stand area was merely made up with a steel railing structure which most likely built up from a safety consideration, not anything else, let alone media usage. Seeing all these, I am still not convinced that I am wasting my time at the Stadium. On the contrast, I appreciated all these old things which I have seen. Every single old thing in the Stadium seems to be telling me a story. I’m just glad that I have made this trip to Laranjeiras.
If Laranjeiras Stadium is one of most most iconic Stadiums, Maracana Stadium has to be the most famous Stadium in the World I ever stepped into! I am just thankful that I have the opportunity to be there with the rest of the World catching a World Cup game on 15 June 2014, a day after my Birthday!
It was a sunny day afternoon, South American powerhouse, Argentina was set to play World Cup debutant, European Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana. After days of rehearsing my walk to Maracana from my hostel alone, at times I even lost my way taking me up to 45mins to locate, I was extremely confident to reach Maracana in 15mins on that very day! Practice made perfect, wasn’t it!
Compared to the usual days where there was no game, the security on game day was extremely tight. The police, standing in a line, started to cordon off roads surrounding Maracana and to an extend, only ticket holders were allowed to get through their security line, into their secured zone. And once you got pass them, you could start singing and party with the rest of the football fans at the Stadium premises!
Although it was extremely crowded outside Maracana before the game, it was not exactly a very carnival-like feeling. Many fans were merely trying to find the right entrances which were indicated on their respective game ticket, got into the queue to move into the Stadium. There weren’t any performance which I would expect a World Cup Stadium would have prior to any game. But of course they were many fans singing and cheering away loudly in the background which acted as a background music to me! I am enjoying the experience of finding the right entrance, joining the queue and moved into Maracana for my first ever World Cup game!
My first impression of overseeing the entire pitch inside Maracana was marvelous. In fact, I’m just speechless while starring at the pitch. Never did I ever thought I would be standing on the soil of Brazil, let alone Maracana. Well, it did get a little emotional but for all the good reasons!
At times, I was so overwhelmed in the Stadium that I was not exactly sure if I should use my camera to take a shot at certain scene, or should I take a video instead, or should I just sit down, relax and enjoy the whole experience? Things were running through my mind at a speed which I was unable to handle – I was simply too excited to be at Maracana!
I was seated in first second row of the second tier seating which I would considered quite an excellent position. Argentina fans were on both my left and right and Bosnia-Herzegovina fans were in the front and back of me. It just couldn’t get any better to be in the middle of these groups witnessing how they would attempt to out-sing each others!
Interestingly, there were an Argentinian father and son who were in full Argentina gear sitting on my right. The son was always busy with his mobile phone while his father was the superb passionate type where he kept jumping on the spot and singing away with the rest of the crowd. At one point, his dad noticed his son was busy with his phone and not focusing on the game, he just tapped on his shoulder giving him the kind of attitude like “Cheer for Argentina for Christ sake”! Immediately, the son just stood up and started jumping on the spot and singing away! The most amazing thing was the son was not in the right mood for the past 30minutes as he was concentrating on his mobile phone. And in a split-second, he just stood up, not knowing who’s going on with the world, and started jumping and cheering! I personally find it hilarious but that’s how passionate the South American fans were!
Unfortunately, I was unable to stay back to enjoy the empty Stadium after the game as I need to rush to the airport. No doubt, this trip to Brazil for the World Cup was awesome! Sometimes, its really beyond any word I could use to describe how I felt at the Samba land. You just got to be there.
During this trip, I have done a couple of things which I thought was quite silly but it was after all, a very silly kind of fun which you wouldn’t normally do in Singapore. One of those examples was my Argentinian, Chilean, Colombian hostel mates and I would be giggling at my mobile phone a lot during our drinking session but why! Cause I was using my Google Translation Application to communicate with them! I was typing something on my phone, handed to them to read the translation, they giggled and typed something again, handed back to me and I giggled. But hey, seriously the application was extremely helpful!
During this trip, not only I have gained valuable friendships with the South Americans, most importantly I have brought my football knowledge and passion to another new height. I was one of the luckiest around to experience a World Cup in Brazil considered the fact that they last hosted the tournament in 1950. I don’t think Brazil will ever get to host another World Cup in my life time. With that, I hope that I have given and shared with you on how rich the football is in Brazil through these articles.
On behalf of Junpiter Futbol, I thank TODAY Papers for the coverages and I thank PUMA Singapore for all the apparels which I am wearing in Brazil.