Fans from peripheral nations adopted Brazil in the World Cup out of admiration for five-time champion football or emotional attachment; Indians who live in Qatar even founded organized supporters
By Lucas Lima 12/04/2022 08h00
A boy walks past a wall decorated with posters showing the images of Neymar and Alisson painted on walls in Calcutta
Kolkata City. in India, decorated with colors and players of the Brazilian National Team during the World Cup
With five world titles and idols such as Pelé, Garrincha, Ronaldo, Romário and, nowadays, Neymar, Brazil is known as the country of football. In this World Cup, as traditionally happens every four years, the bars were packed, shops closed and the streets were decorated in green and yellow to see the Brazilian team beat Serbia by 2-0, conquering a meager victory by 1- 0 over Switzerland and losing to Cameroon by the minimum score. And it's not just on national territory that the players commanded by Tite gather fans. In different parts of the world — all of them in underdeveloped or developing countries —, thousands of fans with different passports got together to cheer for Brazil. Even shouts of “olê, olê, olê, Brasil, Brasil” are heard and reproduced in videos that show the mobilization power of the Selection.
One of the main focuses of fans for Brazil is in Haiti. A video that went viral on social media shows thousands of Haitians celebrating Casemiro's goal against Switzerland. It is possible to visualize adults and children with shirts and flags of the Brazilian National Team. Recorded in the documentary “The Day Brazil Was Here”, from 2005, the historic Game of Peace helps explain the passion of Haitians for the “Canarinho”. On August 18 of that year, a match was held in Port-au-Prince, capital of the Caribbean country, between the Brazilian national team, world champions in 2002, and the Haitian national team. The film shows how the story of passion between the two fans was born. “If anyone still had doubts about the validity of this trip, they must have been convinced by these images. The next time someone asks me what the strongest emotion I have experienced in football, I will say this was it. And everyone knows I've lived it”, said Carlos Alberto Parreira, Brazil's coach at the time, moved by the emotion of the Haitians when they saw Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho Gaúcho and company up close.
Brazil's partner in the Brics, a group of countries with emerging economies that Russia, China and South Africa also form part of, India has ardent supporters of the Brazilian national team. In the southern state of Kerala, giant posters of Neymar and Messi steal space from cricket, the country's number one sport. There are even records of “Brazilians” and “Argentines” participating in violent fights, as if they were members of Gaviões da Fiel and Mancha Alviverde. “People like to portray stars as grandiose characters in Kerala and that applies to movie stars as well. But football players connect with them on a different level, especially those from Brazil and Argentina,” explained a fan from Brazil to Al Jazerra TV. In Internet forums, people from other countries — especially Europeans — find it strange and try to find out why Indians follow “Canarinho” with such fervor. Most explanations recall the 2002 title and praise the quality of our stars. “The Indians' love for the Brazil football team was developed at the time when football arrived in our country. In early 2002, football hit the world market everywhere, and also in India. At that time Brazil and France were the best teams. The Brazil national team had Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Kaká, Roberto Carlos and other great players. France had Zidane. However, Brazil won the Cup, and Brasilmania increased among the Indians”, highlighted a user identified as Hasim Mohammed on Quora (a social network for questions and answers).
In Qatar, the Indian community even created an organized group of fans to support the selection, Brasil Fans Qatar. In 2011, when FIFA decided that the 2022 World Cup would be held in the Middle Eastern country, the Indian fans of the Canadian team who work in the host country of the Cup organized themselves to wear green and yellow when the time came. Today the movement also counts people born in Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. From Bangladesh, by the way, came one of the most impressive videos that show the devotion of foreigners to the national team.