Jan
22
2008
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Rio – How Much Is A Day At The Beach Worth?

A November afternoon provided the experience of a lifetime for a group of 58 children from disadvantaged communities in Rio de Janeiro who enjoyed a stimulating beach soccer clinic at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007 courtesy of FIFA, adidas and a clutch of stars from the sport.
Asking a 12-year-old Brazilian whether he enjoys playing football is probably not the smartest way to start a conversation. You cannot get any more obvious than that.
Still, Romulo do Patrocinio de Almeida Costa could see I meant well and played it cool: “Are you kidding? I am Pele’s nephew, you’ll see,” said the aspiring central defender with a grin before turning solemn to give details on his outlook on life. “Being a footballer is probably the easiest way for me to ascend socially, but even if it wasn’t, there’s nothing I like better. So I play football and beach soccer whenever I can, all the time.”
This is what he says, but it easily could have come from any of the other 57 boys and girls aged 7 to 15 that had the time of their lives at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007 stadium on the “• famous Copacabana beach in Rio de -Janeiro on Thursday, 8 November. The group — coming from the disadvantaged communities of Axvore Seca, Cantagalo, Chapeu Mangueira and Pavao-Pavaozinho — was brought along by non¬governmental organisation Obra Social da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro to take part in an inspirational event organised by FIFA and its partner, adidas, as part of the Football for Hope Movement.
After watching the competition quarter-finals from the players’ tribune, the youngsters enjoyed a guided tour of the venue’s facilities, which concluded with a warm welcome on the pitch by a clutch of football and beach soccer stars including Spain’s head coach and FIFA beach soccer instructor Joaquin Alonso, Spanish aces Amarelle and Nico and Cicero, one of the idols of 2007 Brazilian cup winners Fluminense, who distributed top-of-the-range adidas kits to the children, whereupon they promptly vanished into the stadium’s changing rooms.