Still without having a team in the most expressive divisions of Brazilian football – Manaus FC can change this scenario -, women’s football has been, in recent years, the focus of fans in Manaus. The fans even got a good crowd at the Arena da Amazônia, the stage for the match of the Brazilian Team against Uruguay this Thursday, for the qualifiers.
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In the absence of prominence among men, the “Hulk do Amazonas” insisted on putting Manaus on the map of Brazilian football. Iranduba’s women’s team was the eighth state champion between 2011 and 2018, semifinalist of Brasileirão in 2017 and third place in the Libertadores 2018.
The most prominent campaigns were marked by fan support. The Arena da Amazônia was the headquarters of the Libertadores 2018. The local fan embraced the Hulk, eliminated in the semifinals on penalties for Atlético Hulia-COL, who would later become champion.
Last year, a record to keep: the first leg of the Brasileirão Women’s semifinals against Santos registered 25,371 attendees, then the largest audience in the history of any soccer game between women’s clubs in Brazil – something surpassed by Corinthians in 2019.
Fans filled stadiums to see Iranduba (Photo: Disclosure)
PANDEMIA, LACK OF SPONSORSHIP AND DIFFICULTY
What was a dream turned into a nightmare. With the pandemic, Iranduba lost sponsorships and the team, which was then a reference in national football, ended up being left behind.
In 2019, Iranduba closed a sponsorship with VeganNation, a company that would operate in the cryptocurrency business supporting vegan values around the world. The point is that the money never entered the Hulk’s account: the promise that, over time, the club could exchange bitcoins – called vegancoins – for cash was not fulfilled.
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Wages were delayed and, with the onset of the pandemic, the situation only got worse. With the difficulties caused by Covid-19, VeganNation’s cryptocurrency did not actually enter the financial market. In other words, Iranduba never had the chance to exchange these coins for real money.
With all this imbroglio, the Hulk’s debt came to exceed R$ 500 thousand between salaries and operating expenses.
REMAINS NO FIELD
In 2019, even without receiving the money from the master sponsorship, Iranduba remained in the Serie A-1 of Brasileirão, but far from the highlight of previous years. The Hulk was placed 10th, getting rid of relegation by just one point.
The following season the team did not resist. With ten defeats in 15 games played, Iranduba was relegated to the second division. In Serie A2 of the current season, the Hulk even qualified for the knockout stage, but was eliminated to Atlético-MG in the round of 16 and went far from access.
Even with the difficult time passed in 2021, Iranduba probably has a special place in the heart of every football lover from Amazon. The Hulk was, for a time, the breath of cheering and hope for better days in the personification of a team.
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