29-0 loss reopens debate on women's football in Brazil

SHOWS:

EMBU, SAO PAULO STATE, BRAZIL (RECENT - NOVEMBER 6, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. VARIOUS OF DRONE FOOTAGE OF TABOAO DA SERRA SQUAD TRAINING

2. BALL BEING KICKED

3. PLAYERS KICKING BALL

4. SLOW-MOTION SHOT OF PLAYER RECEIVING BALL

EMBU, SAO PAULO STATE, BRAZIL (FILE - OCTOBER 27, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

5. BALL ON PITCH AND PLAYERS JOGGING

6. PLAYERS GATHERED ON PITCH

7. PLAYER, ALIENI BACIEGA ROSCHEL 'NINI', TALKING WITH TEAM MATES

8. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) TABOAO DA SERRA PLAYER, ALIENI BACIEGA ROSCHEL 'NINI', SAYING:

"I don't like to lose or tie. So it is very difficult to lose, especially 29 to 0. I mentioned to the girls several times that it was the worst defeat I have ever suffered in my life in terms of numbers."

EMBU, SAO PAULO STATE, BRAZIL (RECENT - NOVEMBER 6, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

9. DRONE FOOTAGE OF FIELD AND EMBU CITY

10. DRONE FOOTAGE OF TEAM IN TRAINING SESSION

EMBU, SAO PAULO STATE, BRAZIL (FILE - OCTOBER 27, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

11. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) TABOAO DA SERRA PLAYER, ALIENI BACIEGA ROSCHEL "NINI", SAYING:

"We don't have any other kind of help, not even boots. All the players have to pay for their own equipment. They pay their own way to get to training. Every one of them spends between 20 reais and 30 reais ($3.77 and $5.66 dollars) a day on transport. It takes some of them two or even three hours to get home, some come straight from work, tired, without having slept."

EMBU, SAO PAULO STATE, BRAZIL (RECENT - NOVEMBER 6, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

12. SOCCER PLAYER LOHANE FERREIRA PREPARING TO GO TO TRAINING

13. FERREIRA PUTTING HER CLEATS INTO BACKPACK

14. FERREIRA WEARING SHOES

15. FERREIRA APPLYING CREAM ON HER FACE

16. CLOSE-UP OF LOHANE

17. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) TABOAO DA SERRA CAPTAIN, LOHANE FERREIRA, SAYING:

"They said (when the team lost): 'It seems the whole team has COVID-19, they weren't even on the pitch.' Things like that you know. Talking as if football was only for men, that women should stay at home washing dishes, like men's slaves. Most of the players get these kind of messages."

18. FERREIRA LEAVING HER HOME

19. FERREIRA LOCKING DOOR

20. DRONE FOOTAGE OF FERREIRA WALKING IN FOREST

21. VARIOUS OF FERREIRA WALKING

22. FERREIRA GETTING ON BUS

23. VARIOUS OF FERREIRA WALKING ALONG BUS CORRIDOR

24. FERREIRA INSIDE BUS

25. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) TABOAO DA SERRA CAPTAIN, LOHANE FERREIRA, SAYING

''Taking the pitch and seeing them (the players of the Brazilian women's team) is thrilling, the best experience I've ever had. In spite of all the difficulties, it is the best thing I've ever done in my life. I can tell my children and my grandchildren that I played against them."

26. PLAYERS IN CHANGING ROOM

27. PLAYER BEING ASSESSED

28. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS WEARING SOCKS AND CLEATS

29. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS IN TRAINING SESSION

30. FERREIRA KICKING BALL

31. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) TABOAO DA SERRA CAPTAIN, LOHANE FERREIRA, SAYING

"Our team is going through a lot of difficulties but we keep fighting, always, to be able to achieve our goals and help our families."

VINHEDO, SAO PAULO STATE, BRAZIL (RECENT - NOVEMBER 6, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

32. SCORE SHOWING 16 - 0

33. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS DURING MATCH

34. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SOCCER PLAYER, BRUNA DOS SANTOS "BRUNINHA", SAYING:

"I went out there with everything I could, everything I had inside me, which is just gratitude and joy for being in this place because I know that many would like to be here. I just have to thank you for participating in this championship."

35. PLAYERS WALKING ON PITCH

36. PLAYERS SHAKING HANDS AFTER MATCH

37. SLOW-MOTION SHOT OF FERREIRA KISSING CLEAT

STORY: When the women's team of Taboao da Serra lost a league match 29-0 last month it looked like things could hardly get much worse for the small club based outside Brazil's biggest city Sao Paulo.

The horrific loss made headlines around the world but it wasn't the final straw. They lost their next three games 14-0, 10-0 and 16-0 and were eliminated from the Sao Paulo state championship at the group stage.

The results sparked yet another debate about the competitiveness of the women's game in Brazil. The backlash - and of course the sexist ridicule - was even more predictable.

When we lost "they said it looks like the whole team has COVID-19, don't bother playing, those kind of things, you know," said captain Lohane Ferreira.

They were "talking as if football was only for men, that women should stay at home washing dishes, like men's slaves. Most of the players get these kind of messages."

The results and the messages reflect the challenges faced by women footballers in Brazil.

The South American nation is famous as the spiritual home of football; the birthplace of Pele, Ronaldo Nazario, and Neymar; and the only country to win the men's World Cup five times.

The women's team are also competitive on the world stage but while top players like Marta, the only woman to win the World Player of the Year award six times, can make a comfortable living overseas, the majority who play in Brazil struggle.

Even senior clubs face accusations of not offering their women's teams the same equipment or facilities as the men's sides and equal pay is a distant dream.

Taboao only secured a training pitch three days before this year's league kicked off and their players shoulder almost all the responsibility for preparing, training and kitting themselves out.

"We don't have any other kind of help, not even boots," said midfielder Alieni Baciega Roschel.

"All the players have to pay for their own equipment. They pay their own way to get to training. Every one of them spends between 20 reais and 30 reais ($3.77 and $5.66) a day on transport, some take two or even three hours to get home, some come direct from work."

Their elimination means no competitive matches until at least next year and has thrown the future of the women's side in doubt.

Taboao, like many clubs in Brazil, face financial difficulties and are deciding whether to focus all their resources on the men's team next year.

The players, though, have been loaned a training pitch and have vowed to keep playing. They are sanguine about their future, and their recent past.

"Taking the field and seeing them (the players of the Brazilian women's team) is thrilling, the best experience I've ever had," Ferreira said of some of her more illustrious opponents.

"In spite of all the difficulties it is the best thing I've ever done in my life. I can tell my children and my grandchildren that I played against them."