Jan
17
2008
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Cuba – 8000 Fans

At domestic level, this season’s 93rd league championship has a new format, with the country’s 15 provinces being divided into four groups of four teams. There are 16 teams because Havana province has two representatives, one of which, Industriales, is named after Cuba’s most popular baseball team which was in turn christened by Che Guevara when he was minister of industry. The teams are grouped together in accordance with their proximity to one another to avoid long journeys on the island’s dilapidated roads and matches are always played in the daytime to alleviate the energy crisis.
Antonio Diaz, a member of the Cuban institute of sports, physical education and recreation (INDER), describes football’s growth in the following terms: “The stadiums are full, which does not happen in baseball. It’s fascinating to see the grounds at Candelaria, where Pinar del Rio play, Moron or Ciego de Avila: they are vibrant places where people are very passionate about football. The most impressive sight of all is the Camilo Cienfuegos stadium in Zulueta.”