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“There is nothing more important than the National Team for us”, assures Barros Schelotto

Ibis Sport Club is proud of its nickname: the “worst team in the world”. Their mascot is called “Derrotinha” and their fans ‘protest’ when they win games. But after decades of sporting stumbles, this modest club from the northeast of Brazil now wants to win.

Source: AFP

On the court, the so-called “Black Bird” carved out his fame as an eternal loser, especially in the early 1980s, and in the era of social networks, he has known how to take advantage of a nickname that he used with good humor. many would flee.

“Let’s leave the story of the ‘worst team in the world’ for the 1980s, when Ibis really was the worst team in the world. Today we are not, but that is for marketing, so that they know us, ”said the enthusiastic president of the cast, Ozir Ramos Júnior, to AFP.

The 64-year-old director justifies his happiness with encouraging sporting and financial reasons, which have given wings to this club from the municipality of Paulista, located about 18 kilometers from Recife, and which usually competes in the second division of the Pernambuco championship.

Decades of humorous advertising campaigns that repelled the victory came to fruition last June with the signing of the largest sponsorship of this octogenarian squad, with the Swedish online betting company Betsson.

The “offer” for Lionel Messi to join them after leaving Barcelona (on the condition that he did not score “many goals” or be champion), comparisons with PSG because none has raised the Champions League or jokes they gave to casts in crisis unexpected visibility.

– The winners” –

Because of that fame “we are known all over the planet, but that cannot be mixed with the professional side. We have competent people there,” Ramos clarifies.

The sponsorship made it possible to improve the infrastructure and pay salaries to the squad, made up of goalkeepers or waiters who previously played for “love of the jersey.”

Last season they rose for the first time in 21 years to the first division of the Pernambuco Championship, which is played before the start of the league and is the gateway to Series D. But their permanence is threatened by poor results.

“Today you can see that (…) we only work with winners. We are going to get rid of that reference!”, says Paulo Jesse, technical director and school guard.

Founded in 1938 by the owners of a Recife textile company, Ibis created its bad reputation by going three years, eleven months and 26 days without winning (from July 20, 1980 to June 17, 1984).

There were 54 games without celebrations (48 losses and six draws), with 25 goals scored and 225 conceded, recalls Israel Leal, author of the book “The flight of the Black Bird: the story of the Ibis, the worst team in the world.”

In the midst of that streak, the magazine Placar made them the report “This is the worst team in Brazil”. They became the target of ridicule, but took the opportunity to create a sustained record in defeat and even boast of having obtained a Guinness record of which there is no record, however.

– Very earthly idol –

“For many years the Ibis only lost and now it is winning. It then goes back to that story that the Ibis is resistance, that it looks like people when they are in a bad moment and start fighting to win”, points out Leal.

Although Náutico and Sport Recife, which range between the first and second divisions in Brazil, are the most popular teams, the squad has made its way in Pernambuco… at least in the hearts of the fans.

“The Ibis is the second team that Pernambucans are fans of,” says Ramos, whose family took over the club after the founding company withdrew its support.

Legends such as the two-time world champion Vavá or Rildo, Pelé’s teammate at Santos, passed through the minor categories of the “Black Bird”.

But sympathy has been fueled by endearing characters, including Mauro Shampoo, a hairdresser with long hair like René Higuita who defended the red and black jacket at the end of the 1980s.

The club’s top idol, the former midfielder swears he scored a goal, in an 8-1 setback with Ferroviário de Recife. But there are no records of that score and the president of the time claimed that it was an own goal.

“The folklore was left from that,” says Leal. The folklore of the “worst team in the world”.

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