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Brazilian envoy tips Kenya how to become great football nation

23 June 2014, 11:05

Nairobi - Kenya needs to tap talent at an early age if the country is to emulate Brazil as a great football nation.

Brazilian Ambassador to Kenya Marcela Nicodemos said a lot of talent was abounding in the East African nation that needed to be tapped to make Kenya a great football nation.

"In Brazil, coaches identify talent at the grassroots at an early age after which the players are nurtured to stardom," Nicodemos told Xinhua late on Saturday in Nairobi.

"It is easier to guide children when they are still young as opposed to doing the same to adults, because kids are susceptible to adjustments," the envoy said.

Nicodemos was speaking at Sadili Oval Sports Academy in Nairobi during the event of "World Cup for Children" which was sponsored by the Embassy of Brazil to celebrate the ongoing FIFA World Cup in the South American country.

The one-day football tournament emulated the original Brazilian community football style - Futsal - which has been embraced worldwide, and featured teams of boys and girls from various slums within Nairobi.

Each team at the tournament, which was presided over by officials from Kenyan Premier League, comprised of eight players of which at least two had to be girls.

The ambassador said Brazil intended to bring at least a football team to Kenya every year starting with 2012 when a Brazilian team visited Kenya, but this was not possible this year owing to this year's football mundial taking place in the country.

Saying that may the best team win the FIFA World Cup, the Brazilian envoy predicted that the finals will pit teams from the Latin American region.

"I am not necessarily saying that my country will win the World Cup, but I concur with the widely-held view that Latin American countries are doing pretty well raising the chance of two of them meeting in the finals," she said.

"It was our desire to bring to the children of Kenya a little bit of the idea of playing in a football championship and entrench the spirit of the World Cup through integration and inclusion," Marcela added.

Jhony Balza Arismendi, Venezuelan Ambassador to Kenya and a co-sponsor of the event, said sports helps to foster friendship and peace among nations.

"Football allows people of different ages and background to have relationships and it is possible for teams to share ideas and knowledge to develop the game," Arismendi said.

The talent training academy has partnered with league champions, Gor Mahia FC and select clubs from the Kenyan Premier League to train a group of players between the ages of nine and 15.

 - Xinhua

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