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"Botafogo" - "The Lone Star" of Garrincha from Rio de Janeiro
2014-07-12 12:34 | Views: 3825
Photos by Lasha Tabagari
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If you are in Rio de Janeiro and love football, you must visit the club where world’s all-time one of the best football players “Mane” Garrincha played. “People’s Joy”, as the Brazilians called Garrincha, played for “Botafogo” in 1953-1965 and scored 243 goals in 612 matches.

“Bent Legged Angel” who is regarded as the best dribbler in football history held 50 matches in the Brazilian national team in 1955-1966. He scored 12 goals in the national team. In 1958 and 1962 Garrincha won World Cup with the Brazilian national team. At the 1962 World Cup in Chile Pele got injured and “Mane” led the national team. He became the best football player and top scorer of the championship. At that time, besides Garrincha, Nilton Santos, Didi, Amarildo and Zagallo played from “Botafogo” in the Brazilian national team.

Garrincha had a tragic fate. He did not lack income in the years of the fame but died in poverty. 300000 people attended his funeral in Pau Grande. The following inscription is written on his grave: “People’s Joy”.

“Botafogo Football and Regatta” where such legendary football player played is based in the Botafogo neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. They were surprised by my visit because a Georgian journalist has never visited this club before. The courtier called a young man who brought representative of the club. I explained this man that I wanted to see the club and write an article about it. Two people guided me, took a picture of me and gave me a magazine of “Botafogo”.

First we went to the museum of “Botafogo” which was closed and they opened it specially for me. Then, they showed me the territory of the club and played the anthem of “The Lone Star” (nickname of “Botafogo”). In the end we visited the press conference hall. There is also a fan-shop of “Botafogo” on the territory of the club.

At first one of my companions explained me, who were the notable players of “Botafogo”. When I mentioned Nilton Santos, Garrincha, Didi, Amarildo, Zagallo, he was pleasantly surprised and happy. Nilton Santos, Garrincha, Didi and Jairzinho are considered the symbols of the club. By the way, it is known that Garrincha got in “Botafogo” on the recommendation of Santos who has scored 11 goals in 723 matches in 1948-1964. Santos is a record holder of “Botafogo” by the number of the matches. Didi was named the best football player of World Cup in 1958. Jairzinho shone in Mexico in 1970.

In 1894 “Club de Regatas Botafogo” was founded in Rio de Janeiro. On August 12, 1904, football club called “Botafogo” was founded in this neighborhood. It is worth mentioning that colors (black-white) and emblem of the club look like “Regatta”. “Botafogo” turned out to be a successful club and by 1942 it had won Rio de Janeiro State Championship 8 times.

On December 8, 1942, these clubs incorporated. Under the auspices of the incorporation, they played each other in basketball game. During the game when “Botafogo” was winning 23:21 football player Albano tragically died.

Augusto Frederico Schmidt, president of “Club de Regatas Botafogo”, offered the opponent to stop the match:

"At this time, I declare to Albano that his last match ended with the victory of his team. We won't play no longer the time left on the clock. We all want the young fighter to leave this great night as a winner. This is how we salute him".

Eduardo Góis Trindade, president of football club “Botafogo” said:

"Between the matches of our clubs, only one can be the winner: Botafogo!".

“Botafogo” won the Brazilian Championship twice, Rio de Janeiro State Championship 20 times and State Cup 9 times. At first the club played in “Maracana” or Niteroi stadium. In 2007 “The Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange” was opened and it became home ground of “Botafogo”. The club has 270000 fans in Brazil.

In the end I thanked my hosts, said goodbye and wished good luck to “Botafogo”.

Lasha Tabagari, special correspondent of from Rio de Janeiro

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