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in 10 years time, London will have another premiership team;) :cool:

Brazilian side set sights on the premier league

By Kate Holton

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - When a former Brazilian professional started a soccer team in the run-down East End of London he hoped for some success in the local league.

Now his team plan to be in the English premier league in 10 years' time.


Baptist pastor Paolo Cezar Batista founded the club, Brazilian Football Sport Show Club, or BFSSC, at his local church group in March from the 200,000-plus Brazilians living in London.

Despite playing in the lowly Middlesex league -- nine rungs below the premier -- the team have a full complement of coaching staff that would befit any professional side, including a nutritionist, psychologist and physiotherapist.

"Our aim is to bring this team into the premiership one day," Batista, a former midfielder with Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro, told Reuters. "We know it is a long road. Our aim is for the next 10 to 12 years if we can win promotion every season."

With the support of the local Brazilian community, they have an unprecedented number of fans to boot, drawing 150 to their first game.

"It depends on the weather and who they are playing but we get good support from the Brazilian community," club chairman David Smith said. "We're only half a season old so it will grow as time goes on."

In their latest result, BFSSC won 7-1 against a Hounslow Wanderers side who turned up with nine players and no kit. With true Brazilian flair the second goal was scored from a shot less than a metre from the corner flag.

The result put them 15 points clear at the top of the league while the second-placed team have two games in hand.


Playing at the training ground of first division side West Ham, on a building site just below a motorway flyover, BFSSC strolled through the match despite atrocious conditions and 100 kph winds.

Resplendent in their blue and yellow kit, modelled on the Brazilian national side and sponsored by Brazilian company Uno, the team celebrated each goal with a passion usually reserved for a World Cup final.

Before the match they had met for lunch at the Baptist church and a tactical team talk, during which everyone gave their opinion. They then joined arms to pray for victory and repeated their chant of "Brazil, Brazil, Brazil" before going out to demolish their opposition.

"They are certainly an impressive team," Middlesex FA secretary Stephen Hosmer said. "They are very well organised and a nice bunch of people. We are fascinated to see how they do."

Batista started the club after watching a group of boys from his Baptist church knock the ball around after bible meetings.

"In about March last year a group of guys got together to play football and afterwards study the bible," Smith said. "And then more guys came along and someone said 'gee, these boys are good'"

Since then, the interest has spiralled.

The club received more than 1,000 e-mails from out-of-work Brazilian footballers following a slot on a prime-time news show which aired across South America, prompting the club to appoint a communications secretary.


In October they were the only team invited to spend time with the Brazilian national squad when they played a friendly against Jamaica in Leicester, England.

"The style of the Brazilian footballers is much different to the English," Smith said. "That is more physical and rugged and demanding whereas the Brazilians are a little freer with the ball.

"I think the English teams struggle to keep up with our guys as far as the style is concerned."

So far all the players in the 65-man squad are from London's East End but the club say they do not rule out accepting players who move over from Brazil to join them. They also have a couple of English players who play in the Brazilian style.

In total they have five former professional players, including Pedro Arisi who had a two-week trial at premier league club Southampton and played previously in the Ryman league.

"He moved to be here because the quality of football is higher than some of the Ryman teams," Smith said.

Some observers had expected the Brazilian players to struggle with the miserable English weather but as BFSSC cruise towards promotion they now, rather begrudgingly, admit that it seems to have had no effect.

"Well I expected that Brazilian Football Show, or whatever they are called, would be used to a warmer climate and now it's suddenly miserable and wet but it doesn't seems to have affected them at all," Hosmer said.

Updated on Wednesday, Feb 4, 2004 8:02 pm EST

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All the best to the ambassadors of the beautiful game!!!:star::thumbsup:

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