Esporte Clube Bahia is a Brazilian football team based out of Salvador in the state of Bahia, Brazil. The team was formed when players belonging to the Associacao Atletica da Bahia and Club Bahiano de Tenis decided to get together to create a new club. The decision to start the club came after their former clubs had ceased their football operations.
A small-time team, or so everyone thought, shocked the entire world by winning the Taca Brasil, the first national championship held in the country. On the way to that 1959 win, Bahia defeated a Pele-inspired Santos in the finals and went onto participate in the Taca Libertadores. Coming from one of the poorest parts of the country, Bahia shocked everyone again by beating Internacional on their way to a second national title, the 1988 league championship.
In 1996, the team only managed a 0-0 draw in the last game of the season when they needed a win to stay up. The draw meant that for the first time in their history, Bahia would play in the lower divisions of Brazilian football. The club then went into a period of financial turmoil after their main sponsors went bankrupt. Now having been relegated to Serie C, the club needed to find a way back up again.
The team has been a part of lower divisions and despite that, has had enormous popularity amongst the supporters with over 40,000 people turning out on an average.
Bahia have won numerous titles including the Taca Brasil in 1959 and the Campeonato Brasiliero in 1988, their two national titles. At a regional level, Bahia have won the Northeast cup twice in a row, in 2001 and 2002 whereas the Northeast cup was won four times. Bahia have really dominated the state championships and have won the league title on a mammoth 43 occasions while being runner-up on another 9. The team has won the state cup thrice while they have finished as runner-up on two occasions.
There are many other trophies that reside at Bahia’s premises. These include two Relampago tournaments from 1939 and 1940; Two quadrangular tournaments from 1950 and 1962; the 1951 edition of the Octacio Mangabeira tournament held for the inauguration of Estadio Fonte Nova; Three Bernardo Martins Catharino titles and a Vivaldo Tavares trophy won in 1955.
With players like Daniel Alves and Serginho being a part of the team, it comes as no surprise that Bahia have won so many titles in their history.
The team plays at the Armando Oliviera Stadium in Camacari after the Estadio Fonte Nova had a major disaster in 2007. A part of the stadium collapsed during a match against Villa Nova leading to seven deaths amongst the spectators. Since then, the team has been traveling 40kms to play at the 5,000 capacity stadium.