Watching a football (soccer) game in Brazil is a unique experience. Having watched football games in Canada, England, Spain, France and Germany, I still find the crowds in Brazil the most creative and vocal – but this is naturally a biased opinion. Going to soccer games with my brother in my native Itu is particularly amusing: the small town team has a loyal support base, and my brother’s friends are among the most fanatic I have ever seen. They watch the whole game close to the fence, screaming for the whole 90 minutes, harassing the assistant referees non-stop, and using coarse words I didn’t even know existed in Portuguese.
A particularly interesting phenomenon among Brazilian football supporters is mixing up references outside the sports world in the non-official sports merchandising. Over the last year, one player in particular has been a crowd favourite for those mashups of sorts: Obina. You’ll probably never see him in a FIFA World Cup, but his unusual nickname being somewhat close to Barack’s last name has granted him sustained popularity for the time being, despite his obvious limitations as a player. Here are some samples of what was produced during his tenure in three of the most popular football clubs in Brazil:
Obina donning the Flamengo jersey
Obina as Palmeiras’ President
Obina wearing the Atlético jersey