By Samindra Kunti
July 21 – Brazil’s women will start as one of the favourites for the Olympic gold medal next month, but the host nation’s players fear the permanence of the team may be under threat.
The Olympic football tournament is and opportunity to showcase the best of Brazilian women’s football, traditionally one of the leading nations in the women’s game.
In 2015, the Brazilian FA, the CBF, founded a permanent women’s team, handing out central contracts, with the aim of peaking at the Olympic football tournament, but with less than two weeks to go until kick-off, the future of the that team and those contracts is in doubt.
Marco Aurélio Cunha, the coordinator of women’s football at the CBF, has indicated that he favours the continuity of the team, but that ultimately the decision belongs to Marco Polo del Nero, the CBF president.
At the end of the year, the women’s senior team has an international tournament in Manaus. Brazil will also participate at both the U17 World Cup in Jordan and the U20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea in the autumn. The 2018 Copa America will be the next big senior tournament.
But Brazil must understand the legacy of the permanent team if it is not to be maintained, according to head coach Vadão.
Many players from this squad have secured contracts with foreign clubs: Rafaelle (Changchun, China), Raquel (Changchun, China), Tamires (Fortuna, Denmark), Andressa Alves (Barcelona, Spain), Mônica (Orlando Pride, United States) and Andressinha (Houston Dash, United States) are but a few examples.
Brazil are hoping that their long preparation for the Olympic tournament will put them on level par, physically and tactically, with the leading nations in the women’s game, in particular the US who will start as overwhelming favourites. Brazil open their Olympic campaign on August 3 against China. In Group E, they have also been drawn with Sweden and South Africa.
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