Sport

May 11, 2018

THE COUNTRY OF FOOTBALL

We all know that football is a social phenomenon made of passion as irrational as she, as passion is not accountable, cannot be measured or evaluated and no one can control her

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By FERNANDO CORREIA*

In any case and in spite of being recognized as passion, it would be good that sometimes it would be subject to a better control of the emotions that it provokes and of the actions it generates.

Can we blame this passion? Of course, if it is exaggerated, as there are so many other important issues of more concern in life, contrary to football. 

Historically it is necessary to recognize that the passion of the Portuguese people for the football, together to the good sportive training and the natural aptitude of the youngsters for the "ball game" gave to Portugal the opportunity to win the League of the European Champions, the UEFA Cup, the Cup of the Cup Winners, the European Cup, a third seat in the world Championship and an European Cup in footsal, only to mention the senior level. The same applies to training or younger level were Portugal has already win several European and World Championships.

Africa's importance

At the beginning of the notoriety of the Portuguese football several players born in Africa, specially in Mozambique and Angola, came to Portugal and shown high talent and have been integrated in top Portuguese teams, as Benfica, Sporting and Porto. They were immediately recognized as having a natural ability and an almost naive way to face the practice of football, with high efficiency and spectacularism. Some names as Peyroteo, Matateu, Diniz, Yaúca, José Águas, Vicente, Wilson and of course Eusébio that have marked important periods of quality in the Portuguese football, either domestically or at international level, being very important to emphasise the popularity of Eusébio, a great ambassador of Portugal, at the same level of Amália Rodrigues.

That period of great African idols went through the sixties and the seventies, when the Portuguese teams have started to create Football Academies, becoming a Country of excellence for training young players. In this point, the first team to create an Academia was Sporting, immediately followed by Porto and Benfica.

Two Gold Balls

At the beginning of the notoriety of the Portuguese football several players born in Africa, specially in Mozambique and Angola, came to Portugal and shown high talent and have been integrated in top Portuguese teams, as Benfica, Sporting and Porto. They were immediately recognized as having a natural ability and an almost naive way to face the practice of football, with high efficiency and spectacularism. Some names as Peyroteo, Matateu, Diniz, Yaúca, José Águas, Vicente, Wilson and of course Eusébio that have marked important periods of quality in the Portuguese football, either domestically or at international level, being very important to emphasise the popularity of Eusébio, a great ambassador of Portugal, at the same level of Amália Rodrigues.

That period of great African idols went through the sixties and the seventies, when the Portuguese teams have started to create Football Academies, becoming a Country of excellence for training young players. In this point, the first team to create an Academia was Sporting, immediately followed by Porto and Benfica.

Supporters "madness"

All this love for the football generate many times an irrational passion that, together with the "latino" temper brings some people at the brink of a nervous attack when their team lose. Of course, this behaviour has positive and negative features, being important to upgrade the self-esteems of the people when that gives to Portugal a better international evidence.

It is curious that the passion that we mention is strong among the three or four major teams, not having the same validity for the other less important teams, notwithstanding representing their legitimate regional interests, generating a flow of sport tourism that brings Portugal to a more intimal and more attractive ambiance. 

Next Worldcup

The World Championship in Russia is now approaching and Portugal is one of the national teams that will attend, after an initial difficult campaign. Being very well oriented by Fernando Santos, the Coach that leaded Portugal to win the European Cup in 2016 in France, where Portugal beat France, the host, at the final, what for a small country in the west Atlantic coast of Europe, it is a great achievement.

The national team of Portugal is practically based on players that work abroad in top teams, what means that they are recognized as having quality for competing in the World Championship in such a way that, in this moment it is very difficult to say where the Portuguese team can go in Russia, but it will not be a surprise if it will be one of the teams that may go up to the finals.

Trendy Portugal

The touristic flow to Portugal has been fantastic in the last few years, mainly to Lisbon, Porto and Funchal (in the Madeira Island), but other cities in the mainland, as in Algarve, and in Azores are also gaining the interest of more tourists

Madonna gave the lead by choosing Portugal for living, because of the safety, climate good food, the sympathy of the people and that has been very important. As it was the conquest in 2017 of the Eurovision Festival by Salvador Sobral in Kiev and the organization of the Festival in 2018 in Lisbon.

Also, the great concerts and musical festivals, either classic or light, held in Portugal bringing a lot of tourists to those events.

Finally, the more important is the people always ready to give, of good lifestyle, sympathy and friendly to welcome the visitants with open heart and a smile in the lips.

The love to the football is very high, but more important is the love for life and for the others is greater.

*Journalist, writer and TVI's commentator

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