South American opportunities beckon for Glory

The subject of football is never too far away in any discussion about South America.

Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay have, after all, won no fewer than nine World Cups between them and produced an endless list of legendary players headlined by the peerless Pele, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Footballers remain one of the continent’s highest-profile exports and Glory fans have, of course, been exposed to a sprinkling of South American stardust over the years.

Brazilian midfielder Edgar Aldrighi Junior remains perhaps our most successful import from the region, chalking up more than 100 appearances for the club and featuring in the 2003 Grand Final triumph.

But the likes of Argentineans Adrian Trinidad and Matias Cordoba and Brazilian trio Amaral, Andrezinho and Sidnei Sciola also illuminated nib Stadium at times with their attacking verve and sublime balls skills.

And with an off-field development about to strengthen links between Perth and South America, could Glory’s own connections with the football-mad continent be boosted in turn?

Argentinean airline Norwegian Air Argentina has been given approval to introduce direct flights from Buenos Aires to Perth next year as part of an attempt to link the two huge travel markets of South America and Asia.

Perth will be a key stopover hub on these new routes to Asia which could well have positive implications from a football perspective.

For starters, being an Australian football tourist will suddenly become a lot easier.

Who wouldn’t love to sample the legendary atmosphere of a Boca Juniors – River Plate derby clash in Buenos Aires or visit Rio’s iconic Maracana Stadium?

And equally, how fascinating would it be to see the likes of Boca, Independiente, Santos and Flamengo coming to Perth for friendly clashes with Glory, potentially drawing large numbers of fans from Asia in addition to the local WA football fraternity.

The big-name clubs from the region may well view Perth as an ideal location for a pre-season camp, while the proposition of heading in the opposite direction for a challenging and glamourous pre-season tour would surely be an attractive one for Glory.

The new transport link will also undoubtedly make it easier for Glory to recruit South American players and for the club to forge closer links with its high-profile counterparts in Argentina, Brazil and beyond.

We’ve seen the likes of Bobo, Juninho, Marcelo Carrusca and Marcos Flores set the A-League alight in recent years.

Could the competition’s next South American superstar weave his magic while wearing purple?

We can only hope, but either way, football has always been the world game and Perth’s connectivity within that global sporting community is about to get a major boost.

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