Fan-spiration: “Supporting a football team is like a marriage”
As a young girl watching the 2002 World Cup, Camila Borborema developed what she calls a “childish crush” on Germany’s goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. After the tournament, that saw her home country Brazil crowned as world champions after defeating Germany 2-0 in the final, she lost track of Kahn and only accidentally came across him again a few years later.
“When I saw him on TV, I thought, ‘I know this man!’, and I stopped everything to watch the game,” she recalls. That moment laid the foundation for her interest in FC Bayern, which over the years grew significantly stronger. Camila likes to call it “natural love”, because it “just happened!” Of course, Oliver Kahn remains her favourite player to this day.
“I know Bayern and football in Germany because of him. His passion, his fury, his dedication and the part he played in the story of FC Bayern really mean a lot to me,” she says.
During the season when she began to watch Bayern’s matches more regularly, the team had recently welcomed new additions like Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.
“Watching a new generation form a cohesive team and follow this stage in their history certainly helped me to fall in love,” the 26-year-old explains.
Camila, who lives in Rio de Janeiro where she works as a history teacher, says that being a football lover is a part of her, as is the case with most Brazilians.
“Supporting a team is a serious thing, like a marriage, a lifetime commitment,” she says. “Being a fan of this club is part of me as a person. It helps me to reflect the values that I learn from the club and to reflect my values that I carry as a supporter.”
Like all FC Bayern fans, Camila suffered greatly during the 2012 Champions League final – she was still recovering from the lost 2010 final, she jokes, and had to see yet another heartbreaking defeat. But winning the treble one year later was “sweet redemption”.
Camila thinks that Bayern could spend more money on signing new players.
“I understand their policy of being profitable and not offering contracts of exorbitant values, but I believe we could go a little bit deeper when looking at the amount of money the club has,” she says. “I would also like the club to interact more with Brazilian fans on social media, especially on Twitter. There is a large audience here that begs for a Brazilian page on Twitter.”
While Camila never had the chance to visit the Allianz Arena in Munich, she has found other ways to connect with her favorite team: in 2017, she participated in a DW (Deutsche Welle) documentary about FC Bayern, which she calls “a magical experience and one of the most special moments in my life.”
The documentary profiled Bayern supporters outside Germany. Camila was recommended to DW by a friend.
“They filmed my routine watching the game, at home and with my friends,” she recalls. “They shot my reactions, talking to other people, even to those who didn’t support Bayern. They even filmed a discussion I had with an older man who dissed Jerome Boateng, who is one of my favourite players. The atmosphere was great. When the documentary premiered, I was in Berlin and met legends like Klaus Augenthaler, Franz Roth and Hans Pflüger. It was amazing.”
Last year, the FC Bayern Legends stopped by in Brazil to take part in an event called Legends Cup. It gave Camila another opportunity to get closer to players like Luca Toni, Daniel van Buyten and Paulo Sérgio.
“It was a great feeling seeing the players that we always supported being so real,” Camila says, adding that she appreciates how closely they interact with their fans – but her main goal remains to watch a game at the Allianz Arena as soon as possible.
As a Bayern fan from Brazil, Camila is used to her friends and family lovingly mocking her for supporting a Bundesliga club – even though they have gotten used to it by now.
“I also support Flamengo, the football club based in Rio de Janeiro, so there is a balance,” Camila says, adding that she has “a polyamorous relationship with both teams.”
Even though quite a few FC Bayern players were part of the German national team that won the World Cup in 2014, this is where Camila draws the line: her loyalty to the Seleção, the Brazilian national team, is unshakable.
“To be honest, I cried a lot during that semifinal,” she admits, referring to the historic 1:7 defeat against Germany in 2014. “But looking back at it now, it’s almost comical. The Brazilian national team was responsible for its own defeat, and I have accepted it.”
Camila’s Twitter account: @bbrmca