Boca – A Club Of Mysthical Proportions
Competing in this year’s FIFA Club World Cup in Japan between 9 and 16 December will be the football club with the most international titles, Club Atletico Boca Juniors of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Bombonera does not shake, it throbs. As eloquent as it is true, this is the popular adage used to describe Boca Juniors’ home ground, their original stadium that is the club’s pride and joy and preserves a mystique that has steadily grown in stature since its inauguration in 1940, receiving tourists from all over the world at every match and establishing itself as an attraction for any foreigner visiting the city, even on weekdays. In addition to Boca the club (as they are simply known in Argentina) and their glorious history, there is also Boca the place in Buenos Aires, a traditional quarter famous for its artists and tango, its old houses, its brightly coloured tenements, its raised pavements built because of the floods, a district populated by immigrants, Genoese and sons of Genoese who founded the club in 1905 and gave its faithful followers the sobriquet xeneizes (meaning Genoese in Genoese dialect).
Indeed, the fans of Argentina’s no. 1 club since the turn of the century are of such importance that they have also earned the nickname of “la 12″ (the twelfth man). Why? Because, as has been acknowledged by players from Boca’s past and present and rival clubs, the fans have proved decisive in certain matches and have helped it out of difficult situations by infecting players with their enthusiasm and creating enough pressure to strike fear into the hearts of opponents. The fans’ deafening cries at the Bombonera, a stadium with unique architecture, generate an energy that stops many in their tracks. The stadium has three levels, built at a very steep angle to accommodate them in the small space available. This means that the stadium makes a very special sound, an echo that is a unique sensation for any visitor and which together with the fans’ jumping genuinely rocks the stadium to its foundations. It is certainly worth a visit …