Cape Verde’s Beach soccer coach, Polidio Brito, talks about the Cape Verde’s Beach Soccer Team and the challenges they faced.
Sal Island hosted Cape Verde’s Beach Soccer tournament for the first time. Cape Verde would also have the opportunity to enter a beach soccer team in the tournament. Local football players from the islands needed to be picked to represent Cape Verde in beach soccer and Polidio Brito was asked to coach the players.
Beach Soccer World Wide (BSWW) had organised a round robin tournament which would take place in Santa Maria on the island of Sal between 29th April – 1st May 2016.
It was now the day after the competition and I’d arranged to meet with Polidio, Cape Verde’s Beach Soccer Coach. I went to meet Polidio at the Hotel Odjo d’ Agua.
Polidio, or Pu as he’s known to most, sat down and talked about his background in football.
Beach soccer experience
Pu explained that he’d been playing soccer for 29yrs and had represented Cape Verde Internationally between 1991-2002. In 2007-8 he was invited to Durban, South Africa. In 2010 he was asked to participated in the exhibition sport of Beach Soccer at the World Cup which was being held in South Africa. After this he continued his involvement with the sport as Coach. On returning to Sal he became coach of a football team in Espargos.
Cape Verde’s FCF approached Polidio about Beach Soccer
The Cape Verde Football Federation (FCF) had approached Polidio to be coach of the team to represent Cape Verde for their first Beach Soccer tournament. He said he was so excited and very honoured to be asked to accept the position. Polidio had become the first coach of Cape Verde’s Beach Soccer team.
Polidio went on to say “I knew there were a number of beach soccer players on Sal, but I didn’t know their fitness condition, or how well they could perform. I’d spoken to the President of the Federation about this. It was decided that we would also draw on the experiences of players other island championship football players from football clubs on other islands for our first international.
Cape Verde Beach Soccer V Football
Cape Verde’s Beach Soccer Coach went on to explain that there would be a number of things to consider, before the players were chosen. It would be difficult to choose players, as there are were so many good football players on all the Cape Verde islands.
“I needed to consider players that I knew were very fit, in good physical and emotional condition, that were performing well. These football players played in various football stadiums across all the islands, but not in beach competitions. The two are very different sports. On the beach there is the fast pace, players need to run through sand continuously. There is little or no rest on the pitch in beach soccer, players swop around continuously throughout the game. In beach soccer, players move from the play area to bench and visa versa. Our football players would need to adapt from their sport and learn the rules of beach soccer very quickly.
End of football season
Although our football players are familiar with beach soccer, having played it with friends on the beach as children or during the summer, they didn’t know of the competitive rules of the game.
At the end of each football season, when the seasonal football championship games were over, players could relax and participate in some beach soccer with friends. There was a rule that players were not permitted to participate in beach soccer and some other activities, during the football season.
Employed or working players
Pu continues “There was also the problem of whether some of the players could be released from any employment to participate in the competition. A number of players and officials would need to get flights from other islands to Sal”. The Federation needed to write letters to employers to get permission for players to have time off work. Polidio also held a full time job working at Sal International Airport. He also needed permission to take time off working in the flight control centre.
Polidio continued “I thought, as long as I could get the team together, I hoped we would have enough time to try and prepare the players. We’d not need to explain the rules and get the players into a different way of thinking in such a short time. We only had 6 days to prepare and train players to play against Portugal, Spain, England! There was a big challenge ahead. The teams of international players participate at a high level in beach soccer leagues on a professional basis! What a challenge this was for the players from Cape Verde, but again, what an honour for them to have this opportunity. As for the rest, that work would need to be left to the organisers, sponsors and the Federation and Directors.
In total, 10 players needed to be chosen for the squad.
2 x Forwards
2 x Defence
4 x Central
2 x Goal Keepers
“As I was based on Sal it had its advantages as I knew all the players”. Five of the players chosen were those playing for teams on Sal; from Palmeira, Academica and Juventude. The others included, three players from the island of Santiago, one from Sao Vicente and the other from Boa Vista.
Three or four of our players have played international football. One player wasn’t able to join the squad until Thursday, the day before the event started so only had 2 days training with the others. Another player had to take a week’s holiday from his job so he could attend and represent his country. We have a technician, fireman, an administration worker at the airport, one at a Dispatchers office, three unemployed, a fisherman and one uncategorised person.
The morning after the beach soccer event
I needed to return to my job at 1.30p.m. at the airport the day after the Cape Verde Beach Soccer event. One of the players called ‘Mane’ is a fisherman, he went out fishing at 4a.m. that morning. We also had three players and one official who had to leave on flights back to their islands that morning.
All the players and officials from Cape Verde thought this was a great event and, a fantastic opportunity to have been involved in. They have met some great people and players.
On behalf of the players and Polidio they wanted to thank; BSWW, all the sponsors, officials, the Federation for giving them this opportunity. They also of course, want to thank everyone for the support we have received both at and for the Cape Verde Team.
Natural resources for Beach Soccer
Sal has great sandy beaches, they are some of the best in the world.
Our athletes are natural players, most started playing beach soccer as young children, without knowing it was a sport.
We We had a lot of ‘firsts’ to address. Although we’d performed at a basic level, after little time to train as a team or adapt to the different conditions and rules, we didn’t do that badly. The Cape Verde team played beach soccer against some of the best teams and best players in the world. Our players managed to score goals against these international teams!
Yes, we did lose all our games, but nobody expected us to win under these circumstances. We all did our very best with what we had and we believe everyone is proud of what we achieved. It would be a shame to let it end here but, we have proved to everyone what we can do in such a short time.
The Cape Verde team has already been invited by Portugal, to go and play there in a small tournament in July and the players can’t wait!
We have been told by one of the experienced Portuguese players (No. 6, Alain), that he would be willing to come over help coach players and share his 40yrs of experience.
The Portuguese national coach Mario Narciso also said that he would like to come over and teach the players too. Mario believes Cape Verde can have a beach soccer team to match the top international teams in the world.
Building on this experience.
– It would be great to think that sometime in the future, there will eventually be beach soccer tournaments held on all the islands.
– We hope that the Federation will continue to give us their support,
– Business and international partnerships need to be developed.
– Tournaments need to be organised on the islands so that more players can learn the rules of Beach Soccer.
– The Federation need to seek more investment and sponsors to help fund the development of the sport, tournaments and players.
– Funding is needed for the purchase of equipment and materials.
– We need help to develop and choose a larger squad of available players.
– There needs to be an input from some of the top coaches in the sport so they can help develop players.
– Efforts and funding put into the sport would need to be sustained as we do in our Football league.
We would welcome your suggestions
If you think you have ideas on how we can take this forward Polidio would be happy to hear from you. You can contact Polidio Brito and he will make sure your suggestions or offers are forwarded onto the FCF. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN TO ‘BEACH SOCCER WORLDWIDE’ FOR GIVING CAPE VERDE THIS OPPORTUNITY. FACEBOOK BSWW: CLICK HERE
Cheryl Thomas, for Polidio Brito (Coach to Cape Verde Beach Soccer Team)
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