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Who we are

This article was original realesed on Radar Magazine n#5 in june 2009.

 

The match had entered its final minutes and the Sydney Brazilian Social Club (SBSC) was ahead in the scoreboard winning 1-0 over the mighty La Ciccolina when the Brazilian striker received the ball in the area. He

controlled it, dribbled it past the first opponent, the second, went past the third and, while the rest of his team yelled “kick it!” he maneuvered the forth, pretended to hit it, waited until the goalie fell and brought the ball home with seemingly a swift and gentle touch.


That amazing goal crowned the historical participation of SBSC in the Inner City Football Championship (ICFA) when the Little Canaries (Canarinhos), as they are known, in its first experience in the traditional Sydney amateur league became the only Brazilian football team to win an official championship in Australia. That happened in September 2008, but the story started a lot earlier.

 

The year was 1972 and Brazil had already been three times world champion while Australia was still yet to make it to its first world championship. There weren’t so many Brazilians living in Sydney at that time but the few ones that were started, yet timidly, to meet at Moore Park on Sundays to have a game.

“That was the way we found to feel a little closer to home”, affirms Mr. Carlos, one of the first members of the Little Canaries. Other members of that generation are Mr. Macario, Baiano Bangu, Harold Rocha and Caju who are still there, either playing or showing their support in the stands.


A great name of the 70’s was the mid-field Agenor Muniz, one of the first Brazilians to play professionally here. He arrived in Australia in 1971 with the first group of professional players and after becoming an Australian citizen he even made it to the Australian national team. Football in the country was growing in popularity and Australia made two significant achievements in that decade: the first classification for the world cup in 1974, with the mid-field John Warren as team captain, and the creation of the National Soccer League (NSL) in 1977, the first national football competition in Australia.

 

In 1989, the traditional Brazilian game went from Moore Park to Centennial Park, where it continues to take place. According to SBSC’s vice-president, the club has become a big family.


The club
One afternoon in 1996 after a game, one of the Canaries went to his car to retrieve a case of beer. “That was when the idea of the club came up”, tells Chicão, current treasurer of the club. Their first meeting then happened on 23
February 1996.

The Sydney Brazilian Social Club is a bonafide organisation open to both Brazilians and non-Brazilians who want to join not just for the football but also for the match after-party, a beer and bbq event. “We don’t always have a barbie but that happens at least once a
month”, explains Chicão.

Because the Brazilians played at the same location for such a long time, the workers at Centennial Park started to refer to the place as “The Brazilian Fields”, which was made official in 2000. But, before that, they were already widely popular and attracted the attention of big names such as Les Murray, journalist and TV presenter at SBS who is considered an honorary member and ‘godfather’ of the club. The greatest of them all is, of course, Johnny Warren, who was married to a Brazilian and used to show up at the Brazilian Fields during
practice matches.


The Little Canaries organize various sorts of bona-fide events and have recently started up a football school for kids, the SBSC Little School of Football. Their dream is to have their own training headquarters and to be able to offer a lot more to the community, especially to the children of those who chose this country a long time ago. If you want to have a play, just show up at the Brazilian Fields any Sunday before 11am and have fun. “Every one is welcome” says Marcone, the club’s president. And bring on this year’s championship!