Botafogo win over a new and ardent follower


A view of Sugarloaf mountain and Botafogo area from Corcovado Hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 30, 2016. PHOTO | YASUYOSHI CHIBA | AFP

A view of Sugarloaf mountain and Botafogo area from Corcovado Hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 30, 2016. PHOTO | YASUYOSHI CHIBA | AFP


By Roy Gachuhi, Content House Senior Writer


Roy shares his experiences as a newly converted Botafogo fan


The Botafogo Stadium, like the Maracana, has been gobbled up by the Olympics.


So Botafogo’s temporary new home ground is an 18,000-seater elegant facility called Estadio Luso Brasileiro. The ground is permanent but the stands are not; they will be carted away to somewhere else when the Olympics dust settles.


Estadio Luso Brasileiro is where Vinicius took me to watch Botafogo play the league leaders, Palmeiras of Sao Paulo.


Vinicius was nervous and he made no attempt to hide it. “Botafogo are in the relegation zone,” he told me, and the intensity in his stricken voice evoked an urge in me to give him a comforting hug. Everything will be alright, I told him, because I have brought you good luck from Kenya. “Botafogo will not be relegated,” I assured him.


We walked to the Botafogo subway, Vinicius lost in his thoughts and me barely able to restrain myself from dancing in the streets for I was floating in seventh heaven.


I kept saying to myself: :You are going to watch a Brazilian football match – live!” Everybody I’ve spoken to here says with varying degrees of despair and disgust what I already know, that is, Brazilian football is at its lowest ebb in history.


But that has been the least of my concerns. Waxing philosophical, I have told them that there is a season and a time for everything under heaven.


A time to win and to lose.


A time to crush Germany and a time to be crushed by Germany. Didn’t you lose to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final at the Maracana? And didn’t you proceed to win the World Cup a record five times? This is the eternal way, utterly unavoidable. It is simply how the world works. You win today, and you lose tomorrow but the earth abides forever. Although many have not liked my speech, none has been able to dent the argument.


Anyway, back to Botafogo. The train ride was much longer than I had anticipated. I was surprised that our Uber ride after disembarking seemed just as long. But finally, there we were. And was it a carnival. The music was continuous. People drank beer. Beautiful women danced. And Palmeiras supporters were nowhere to be heard.


I bought a Botafogo jersey, Number 7, of course, because it was the one worn by club legends Garrincha and Jairzinho. It is also Botafogo’s most cherished jersey number. Inside the stadium, I was released from all professional obligations of objectivity; I was Botafogo supporter number one.


The game eventually ended 3-2 in Botafogo’s favour.


“Botafogo have escaped relegation,” Vinicius told me after the final whistle and we hugged tightly. “Thank you for the good luck you brought from Kenya.”