Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Amapá Clube (Brazil)

Amapá Clube are a team from the remote Amazonian region of the same name at the very North of Brazil. So remote are they that the rest of Brazil use the place as a marker for being a long way off - much as we do for The Outer Hebrides of Timbuktu. They come from the state capital, the mining city of Macapá, a city so out of the way that there are no road links to the rest of Brazil, so to get there you either have to fly or take a boat. 

The football team, usually known more simply as Amapá , was formed in 1944, and play in their local state league, the Campeonato Amapaense, which they have won on a respectable ten occasions, making them the second most successful team in that league ever, after their city rivals Esporte Clube Macapá who have notched up a massive 17 titles. However Amapá last won their league back in 1990, and Macapá's last victory came a year later, and it is the young upstarts of Ypiranga, also from Macapá who are currently the leading lights of Amapaense football.

However, there is one thing that makes Amapá Clube especially unique. Their pitch, the 5000 capacity Estádio Milton Corrêa straddles the equator, with the halfway line of the ground running exactly down the line of zero latitude. This means if you win the toss you can choose to defend a whole hemisphere rather than the usual mundane half. This curious geographical positioning also means that you get to see some quite outrageous shooting, with goal attempts from the attacking side's own half a regularity, as the players attempt to make a name for themselves as having kicked the ball in one hemisphere and hit the net in the next. Understandably the ground is more commonly known by its nickname Zerão - the big zero!

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