Alexandra Romero Guerra
CLub X Bethania, calle 9c Norte
Jean Carlos Espino, Maika Fernandez, Sonya Perez, Elizel Rodriguez C. y Daylis Jaen
Real Madrid is much more than a football Club. It's a feeling, a profound passion that has swept through the Panamanian ‘La Fuerza Merengue’ Fan Club. In a country where baseball and boxing are the national pastimes, football has been steadily gaining ground thanks to the public broadcasting of the Spanish League. Real Madrid are “one of the most supported teams here in Panama. When they play a crucial League or Champions League match, restaurants, bars, etc., are chalk full of people,” commented Carlos William Otero, President of this Madridista fan club.
Otero, a sports broadcaster for a Panamanian television station, went on to say that the fan club was established by chance. “After talking to the current Secretary one day, I came up with the idea of establishing a Madridista fan club here because of my line of work and the passion Real Madrid generate in Panama, where they are the most hailed team in Spanish football.” And that's how it all began.
They began all the pertinent bureaucratic steps and La Fuerza Merengue was established in 2005. “That same January we received Real Madrid's approval,” explained its proud President. Whenever Real Madrid play, all the members, many of whom are Spanish descendants, “get together in a centrally located restaurant to watch the game and sometimes even register new members.”
While they watch their team play on TV, the La Fuerza Merengue members dream of seeing their team up close and in person at the Santiago Bernabéu, a privilege only the Treasurer has had “because I travel to Spain for business. I was able to go watch a few matches. I was very fortunate to cover this year's Real Madrid-Barcelona match for my TV station.” The rest of the members would be happy with the chance of hosting a Club representative at some point.
The fan club also carries out many charity events, such as “helping educate less fortunate children,” a beautiful effort to contribute to the universality of the team whom they support so faithfully.