It’s been a reverse textbook example, done incorrectly from start to finish. I won’t dwell on past absurdities of president Tirone’s reign, because there are new ones to deal with every single day.
As you recently learnt, Palmeiras were unable to postpone their game against Ponte Preta, a game sandwiched between the finals of the Brazil Cup. The “Green Giant” doesn’t provoke the respect it used to, not at all. Remember that Santos and Corinthians were both in similar situations and managed to have their games postponed? End result: against Ponte Preta Palmeiras lost Román and Maikon Leite due to injury, both strong candidates for being in Palmeiras’ starting line-up tonight. Román is definitely out while Maikon Leite travelled with the group and might be the rabbit out of the hat. In fact, I believe he will score the goal of the title.
Having political influence is important, especially in Brazilian football. Under normal circumstances Palmeiras would NEVER have accept the appointment of referee Sandro Meira Ricci – with a history of polemic performances – in the finals. This bunch of directors does nothing. They also do nothing when Coritiba players and the Coritiba coach after Thursday’s game insinuated that Palmeiras were benefited by the fact that KIA Motors is the main sponsor both of Palmeiras and the Brazil Cup. Cesar Sampaio had to go out and defend the club in front of microphones and cameras while directors where busy elsewhere.
Busy elsewhere… They were probably distributing tickets for tonight’s final and arranging their own amusement. The ticketing issue has been a complete mess. It was announced that 4.000 tickets would be made available for Palmeiras supporters to buy online. One minute after the “release”, the site responsible for the commercialisation informed that no tickets remained. The curious thing was that practically nobody seemed to have getting hold of tickets. In Curitiba, palmeirenses stood in line as early as five o’clock in the morning only to learn by ten o’clock that there were no tickets to be bought, that they had all been shipped to São Paulo. Conclusion: most of the tickets were never available, but had already been distributed to directors, counsellors, sponsors, the organized supporters, travel agents, dealers… How many and to whom nobody knows. The same thing happened in the first leg of the final at the Barueri stadium: 26.000 tickets designated for palmeirenses were supposedly available, but only some 12.000 sold online. The rest were sold by other means or distributed, with zero transparency.
The outrage from palmeirenses, especially on various social media, was immediately felt and soon enough Palmeiras’ legal director Mr Piraci de Oliveira (yes, him again) announced on twitter that he had managed to squeeze out an additional 1.500 tickets from Coritiba. Do you find that likely? Really?
Fellow palmeirense Vicente Criscio remembered the other day: in football, if you do everything right, you’re not guaranteed success. And if you do everything wrong, you’re not guaranteed failure either.
For today, everything must be put aside. Not that we’ve forgotten or will forget. Not that the title will do any difference in terms of demands for better management, transparency, new statute, professionalism. It has ALL been done incorrectly and if Palmeiras win this title, it belongs to the squad, to Scolari and the men under his command, to Cesar Sampaio, and first and foremost to the supporters.
Tonight will be a battle, on and off the pitch, physically and mentally. We must all do our part. And out there, our frontline is composed by keepers Bruno and Deola; wingers Cicinho, Artur, Juninho and Fernandinho; defenders Maurício Ramos, Thiago Heleno, Leandro Amaro and Wellington; defensive midfielders Henrique, Marcos Assunção, João Vitor and Márcio Araújo; playmakers Daniel Carvalho, Felipe and Patrik; strikers Maikon Leite, Betinho and Mazinho. These are our men. These are our warriors. Bring the heat!