Even on different levels, in one way or another, the year started auspicious for Bahian football. But, in less than 60 days, the wind has turned and its 3 main representatives – Bahia, Vitória and Atlético de Alagoinhas – have already collected vexations and have been proving that what is bad can still get worse.
The most tragic situation concerns Vitória, which was eliminated in the first phase of the Bahia Championship and for the fifth time in a row, on February 26, after the goalless draw against Barcelona de Ilhéus. With the result, Vitória was unable to secure a place in the 2024 Copa do Brasil and will also not have a confirmed participation in the group stage of the Copa do Nordeste next season. But it’s not just…
To confirm that the ordeal is still far from over, Rubro-Negro was eliminated in the first phase of the Copa do Brasil, in the middle of the week, after losing to Nova Iguaçu by 2-0, and may have already said goodbye to the Copa do Brasil. Northeast, just yesterday, in case you lost the classic to your archrival Bahia or there was a combination of fatal results.
What remains for the club this year is to fight desperately for access to Serie A, in the midst of a financial crisis that is growing thanks to early eliminations, a shattered management that has, as of the closing date of this column, its president threatened with death by social networks and in the process of resigning, a football director fired, a discredited coach, unmotivated players and faithless fans. All very bad!
Great sensation of the last two seasons, Atlético de Alagoinhas seems to have lost the magic that made it the first team in the interior of Bahia twice champion (2021 and 2022), playing with outstanding technique and race. With a very different team from previous editions, Carcará also failed to qualify for the semifinals of the Bahia Championship and said goodbye to the dream of the third championship, bitter the last positions in the Northeast Cup and was also eliminated in the Copa do Brasil. The year 2023 already seems to have come to an end for the club, without it having proved regionally and nationally that it could be the third state force.
In an identity crisis, Esporte Clube Bahia is experiencing a reversal of emotions after the great euphoria with the arrival of the City Group, which promised, between the lines, to transform it into a hegemonic regional power and one of the most competitive clubs in the country in the medium term. Despite having been having a good, albeit unstable, state championship, what the huge tricolor crowd has watched so far is the hiring of countless players from various parts of the world and successive humiliating defeats in the Bahia Championship and the Northeast Cup, where it occupies poor placement in their group and may not even make it to the knockout stage.
Two months into City’s management, a large part of the crowd has been demonstrating the perception that the club has become a laboratory for the Group to experiment with promising players and coaches, and become just a showcase for players to be traded in the future or serve as a bargaining chip between the holding’s clubs. Organized fans are already making protests that are not limited to social networks and have started to demand more assertive signings from the football department administration, reduction of coach errors and, above all, more involvement on the part of the players.
With a remote chance of advancing in the Copa do Nordeste, Bahia is the only club from Bahia that has advanced in the Copa do Brasil, but precisely because it has beaten another team from the state (Jacuipense), and still has a great chance of lifting the state title for its tradition, but, by the way of the carriage, it may not meet the expectation of making a good participation in Serie A and having to spend another year fighting against relegation.
That is, in less than two months, the predictions point to the three Bahian teams being eliminated early from the Northeast Cup. In national terms, 80% of the state teams have already been eliminated from the Copa do Brasil in the first game (Atlético de Alagoinhas, Bahia de Feira, Jacuipense and Vitória). In what remains, the dream has given way to a nightmare and it will take a lot of commitment and faith for the shattered Vitória to return to the elite of Brazilian football and Bahia to deserve so much trust placed at the beginning of the year.