I Played Soccer in Brasil

Pousada in Amazon East of Manaus
Pousada in Amazon East of Manaus

What’s all the fuss about? I played soccer in Brazil meself.

For an international team made up mainly of African players against a side made up only of Brazilians, back in 1988. Yes Brazil, then three-times World Champions. They have since taken their World Champions tally up to five.

The game took place in Amazonas province on Silves Island about 300km by road and ferry east of the capital Manaus. An epic battle ensued. We went ahead and they drew level; Then we went ahead again, and they drew level again. Their striker’s name was Cesar, who maybe thought we’d be intimidated because he caught crocodiles with his bare hands. We weren’t. We faced him bravely, refusing to bow to his calls to say Hail Cesar! when we spoke to him.

At full-time we were once again ahead, but they insisted on playing on – and on, and on – until they drew level again and could declare the game over. No way they were going to allow a defeat on home soil!! In the interests of international relations (and because we were on an island deep in the Amazon, and because they were going to be making our supper) we sportingly allowed this sleight of hand tactic.


Did I mention I was on for about two minutes before spraining my toe?
Even though the Brasilian team went back to their work as waiters, cleaners and river guides in the pousada (lodge) we were staying in after the game, they were still BRAZILIAN SOCCER PLAYERS.
It was epic.
Oh, and Cesar the river guide did indeed catch something with his bare hands, but it was a lot smaller than our leguaans, poor thing.

1988Amazonas (5)
The Rio Urubu flows into Lago Canacari, on the northern edge of which you’ll find Silves Island.

We went the whole way (290km) by
We drove 290km by “bus”, a truck with seats on the back in a canopy-style arrangement, cut off from the driver!

On the way: Nowhere did it look like real ‘Amazon jungle’.


Everywhere signs of trees being felled.


In 1988 a lot of the road was untarred.

The ferry across a river on the way.


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