Sunday, May 04, 2008

Boca vs River super classic

According to Observer newspaper of UK, one of the fifty sport events one should watch in life is a super classic game between Boca Juniors and Riverplate teams of Argentina. In fact, this event is the top in the list of fifty. I watched it today at the stadium of Boca called as La Bombonera.

More than the game, the most exciting thing to watch was the Boca fans. The stadium, which was packed with 61,000 spectators was a riot of colour, noise and energy. There was almost non-stop singing, drum beating, throwing of paper rolls and insults hurled at River. The Boca fans call themselves as the number 12 ( La doce), which means they are the twelth player.

La Bombonera was vibrating when the fans started to jump in rhythm.. They say "La Bombonera no tiembla. Late" ("the Bombonera does not tremble. It beats.")

The fans, irrespective of their ages get into a frenzy and are transformed into totally different creatures inside the stadium. Grandmother, father, son and kids were shouting the most abusive and colourful words together against River players and the coach. It might be more appropriate to call it as a game of "Putas" (bitch ), since it was the word most used with many prefixes and suffixes.

There were so many songs praising Boca and damning River. Here is their Hymn.

Boca es nuestro grito de amor.
Boca nunca teme luchar,
Boca es entusiasmo y valor,
Boca Juniors. . . a triunfar. .

The rivalry between Boca and River Plate is the most intense in Argentine football and, perhaps, in the whole of Latin America. There is no equivalent even in Brazil, where the rivalry is dispersed among many teams unlike the intense bipolar rivalry between Boca and River which divides the whole country vertically.

La Bombonera ( means chocolate box) stadium in La Boca area of Buenos Aires is like chocolate boxes stacked up together.

Boca fans are more from the working class while River has an affluent fanbase, hence their nickname, Los Millionarios. Boca Juniors claims to be the club of "half plus one" ("la mitad mas uno") of Argentina's population, but a 2006 survey placed its following at 40%, still the largest share.
Maradona, who had played for Boca has a special balcony in the stadium and whenever he is there, a banner says " El Juancito esta presente". Today he was there.
In today´s game Boca won 1-0 to the delight of my hosts Francisco Okecki, his mother Maria and his two sons, who are hardcore fans.
Boca and River have played 182 games so far. Boca has won 66 times, River 61 times and rest were draws.

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