From rubber and coffee plantations, slaves spread to big cities in the South like Rio, Sao Paulo and bring Capoeira culture. At the same time, Charles Miller brought two leather balls from England to Port Santos in 1894 to officially enlighten the so-called “Football” in Brazil. But football in this land will never be able to have the legendary “Brazil”, if it cannot erase the difference in skin color.
If you’re a black person, don’t talk about playing football, because even watching has been banned completely at soccer fields. In the famous book “Futebol – The Brazillian Way of Life”, Allex Bellos crams into the classic picture when colored boys have to climb to the roof near the stadium to see a Fluminense’s match.
Football has become a lifeline for many slaves and their descendants to escape poverty, or simply find moments of sublimation on the pitch to forget the difficult reality of life.
But contrary to the complexity of cricket, the old slaves were interested in the ball, thanks to the simple game rules. As long as the ball is covered with a cloth, a match can take place. By 1904, Bagu Athletic Club beat this barrier of skin color, recruiting talented slaves. And since then, football has become more humane, when the football field is the only place for those unfortunate people to rise up in society.
“The Brazilian players are always playing football like other dancers, the reason lies in the fact that they are carrying African blood or influenced by African culture”. Such researcher Gilberto Freyer wrote on New World in the Tropic (1959).
So what is “African culture” that Freyer refers to ??? That is Capoeira. At that time, even though slavery had been completely erased, class discrimination in Brazilian society was very profound, and so was the football field. A colored player always has to find ways to do less and hurt white players, because in doing so, it caused very terrible consequences.