Samba football comes to East London

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> The Brazilian Football Show Sports Club are bringing samba football to the Middlesex Football Association's First Division.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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The 'beautiful game' of Brazil has found its way to an unlikely corner of England. The Brazilian Football Show Sports Club are bringing samba football to the Middlesex Football Association's First Division, one of the lowest feeder leagues in the English football pyramid. The team are currently storming through the league, eight points clear at the top of table. With their yellow-and-blue strip, modelled on the Brazil national team's, their almost entirely Brazilian squad and the occasional exuberant goal celebration, they are a piece of Brazil transported to east London. When coach Paulo Cezar Batista founded the club in March 2003 his idea was to form a side with Brazilian technique and European organisation. "We are working for the Brazilian Football Show Sports Club. It's not a Brazilian club - it's an English club. But it's a club that plays in the Brazilian way, and we want to combine the Brazilian talent with English organisation - and this is the way we founded the Brazilian Football Show," he says. A former midfielder with Fluminense in Rio, Batista's day job is as a Baptist pastor in London's East End. His claims that his reasons for coming to England were twofold - to spread his faith, and also to learn more about English football. Although Brazil can boast to be the sport's heartbeat, let it not be forgotten, England was its birthplace. The football club have become a new focus for the Brazilian community in London. Batista has created a structure worthy of a professional club and he has already attracted serious sponsorship and a sizeable training staff. They are big news in Brazil, having been featured on the primetime news and widely written about in the press. They have even been visited by members of the national team, including Ronaldo. As a result, hundreds of out-of-contract Brazilian footballers from all over the world are getting in touch with Batista about the possibility of playing. It wasn't difficult for Batista to come up with a team, with anything up to 200,000 Brazilians in London, among them several former professionals. (AP)

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