Brazilian “Lampions League” Highlights the Passion for Soccer in the Poor Northeast

Between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Northeastern region of Brazil, still today the poorest area of ​​the country, was dominated by a group of nomads who used extreme violence to commit crimes in the region. The “Cangaço” as he was known movement, remained active for decades, with the support of landowners interested in coercing debtors, only ended when the dictatorial government of President Getúlio Vargas (1930-45), the period known as the Estado  Novo (New State) decided to undertake a hunt for gang that culminated in the death of the most famous outlaw, Virgulino Ferreira da Silva,  best known as “Lampião”, in 1938.

More than seven decades after his death, Lampião had his name chosen by Northeastern to honor a successful tournament, which brings together the main soccer teams in the region. More than a compliment to a criminal who became a symbol of the Northeast, as Al Capone in Chicago represented a face, the choice was a spontaneous and humorous pun done by local fans to draw a comparison with the mighty Champions League. Was thus born, the Lampions League (translated to English version of Lampião, which in portuguese means lantern)

The competition was first held in 1994 and , after a faltering start , it came to arouse great interest among Northeastern fans . Without the presence of giants of Brazilian soccer as Flamengo, Corinthians and São Paulo, teams from seven states of the region saw the chance to compete in a tournament in which many of them have a real chance of winning matches and hope to become champion . Since 1959 , when Brazil had its first national football league , the only Northeast team to lift the Brazlian cup , unchallenged , was Bahia, the champion of the first edition , when it beat the mighty Santos of Pele , and in 1988 . In 1987 , the Sport Recife was declared champion in a crazy formula  which provided the title match between champion of the second and first divisions. Flamengo and International did not accept the rules and contested the final in absentia . Even today, Brazil is not sure if the title remained with the northeastern team or with Flamengo, which won International .

With their teams rarely extending national decision, the Northeast bet on your own championship, always played in the first semester. But in a decision that the time was interpreted as a pressure of the Rio-São Paulo axe’s media, annoyed with the audience in the matches the Northeast, competition was no longer disputed from 2004.

In 2013, the tournament returned with the support of principiais northeastern teams and under the enthusiasm with the construction of new stadiums for the World Cup. Four regional cities will host matches of the Cup (Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza and Natal). With teams playing their matches in ultramodern stadiums, it was not difficult for an ordinary supporter to claim that was of Lampion’s League. The idea was well accepted and even a Facebook page was created, in which each round fans can bet on the results of the matches.

Obviously , those going to the stadiums has no hope of watching goals like the Swede Ibrahimovic made ​​in Germany during the European qualifiers for the World Cup , but the excellent acceptance of the tournament has already brought results . CBF, the entity that controls the Brazilian soccer, granted to the champion team a place in the competition South American Cup , the second main club tournament of the Americas . On the last day January 10 , went on the air Esporte Interativo Nordeste (Northeast Sports Interactive) , exclusive sports TV channel for the one most currently growing in Brazil and that , until then, had to be pleased to see the TV matches with teams from the south, even if a northeast team was in a final of any championship . And this Wednesday, January 22 , was announced the possibility that in 2015 the championship is played with the presence of the Flamengo, the team with the largest crowd of supporters in Brazil and that usually fill the stadiums when playing in the Northeast . For the reaction in the Lampion’s League ‘s Facebook page , it seems that fans of the competition did not receive the news well . But the mere possibility that it exists shows that the Northeast are again willing to move in groups across the region. Not with violence of bandits, but with the joy of football.

About Gilson Jorge

Fã de Tom Waits, Chico Buarque e Woody Allen, que adora contar histórias do cotidiano
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