The futsal factory: Meet "The Claw"
To Brazil and Bahia state, with our photographer and futsal player Minho Falcão. Originally from the city of Teodoro Sampaio, Falcão started to play futsal at 17 in college in Salvador, before moving at 19 to a team in the city of Campo Grande - Mato Grosso do Sul. In 2009 he co-founded the Desportivo Garra team back in Bahia and in 2013 the team won a first important title in the state. Falcão tells us about the Garra (nicknamed “The Claw”) and the vital role futsal plays in Brazilian sport and culture.
Who is in these photos?
The photos show the training and friendly matches of the team of Futsal Desportivo Garra (also known as “The Claw”) in Salvador, Bahia state. The photos of the Garra training show the difficulty that the team always has to train in appropriate environments and at suitable times. All this difficulty becomes force in front of opponents, making the team one of the coveted by the beginner players and victories more desired by the opponents.
Athletes like Minho Falcão, Guto Matos, Rafael Morango, Erick Tchel, Bruno Souza, Mário Pato, Tatinho, Nau, and Vanilson are important characters in the conquest of the dozens of titles won by this team over 8 years of existence, without sponsorship, without a gymnasium and at first without a structure like the other teams.
Other photos show local children and young people playing in the city of Teodoro Sampaio, Simões Filho or on Boca do Rio Beach, Salvador. In this place, friends gather on Saturdays and Sundays for reunions, gatherings and lots of football.
Does anyone in the photos have an interesting personal story?"
The coach of the Futsal Desportivo Garra team is Guto Matos, who is also a futsal player. He began his career in the sport as a goalkeeper in the teams of his school, SESI and then, while playing, became technical assistant to an amateur futsal school. A few years later, I was contacted by Guto to set up a football team and we created “The Claw”.
Despite the difficulty of creating something in Brazil that is of such importance, the team surprisingly became a great team not only in the city of Salvador, but also throughout the State of Bahia. The success was so great that the team was considered the best school for futsal goalkeepers in the state and also produced several athletes for national and state teams and competitions.
What is your favourite shot?
There is a shot of Futsal Desportivo Garra training on the sports court of the Luís Eduardo Magalhães School in Salvador. I see several faces like mine, dreaming of one day being recognised, having a decent job and doing well. I see future professional athletes, I see promising human beings and so I identified with that image.
Why is football/futsal so important for Brazil and Brazilians?
Brazil has always breathed football, and futsal is the cradle of the main players of Brazilian soccer. All (or at least 95%) of them passed through futsal. The Brazilian has love for kicking a ball, making art with the ball. Each country has its culture and its passion - that of the Brazilian is soccer and it is the dream of many children of poor communities, they try to achieve success to help their family and their community.
What role does football/futsal play in Brazil and Brazilian society?
Not only football, but also sport in general in Brazil has the power to transform. There are many radically different athletes who help their families and their communities. We have this also in other sports - recently Isaquias Queiroz won three Olympic medals in the Remo (canoe) and through this changed his life. Soccer and futsal, because it is Brazilian culture, attracts many more children and adolescents with a dream of fame, success and money.
What is the future of football/futsal in Brazil?
I came to think that football in Brazil, along with futsal would "die" in the face of corruption in CBF and CBFS. Fortunately some athletes have made political careers such as Romario and others became sport activists such as Alex and the former best futsal player of the world, Falcão. All of them have tried to denounce corruption in both institutions and today the Brazilian sport breathes more freely, this can be proven with the way the football and futsal teams have returned and the positions they have reached.
The grassroots divisions of the Brazilian clubs that had lost their prestige are now recovering and we are faced with high youth recruitment by high-level European clubs.