10 June 2014

Tiago's Talent for Soccer Flourishes at SOS Children’s Villages

(6/9/2014): Young Tiago, 11, dodges a defender and
skillfully dribbles around the legs of another opposing team member. He lengthens his stride and passes
the ball right to one of his teammates.

It's hard to imagine that this athletic, lanky young boy first came to SOS Children's Village Pemba, Mozambique undernourished and very ill after losing both parents to cholera.

His grandmother, who lived near Pemba in northern Mozambique, took in Tiago and his brother, Antonio. Unfortunately, the cost of feeding, clothing and taking care of the two little boys was simply beyond her means.

By the time social welfare officials became aware of Tiago’s family, they were seriously undernourished
and weak. While his grandmother was able to care for her own needs, the welfare officials brought both boys to nearby SOS Children's Village Pemba where they were integrated into one of the existing SOS families.

The boys were put on a specially formulated restorative diet when they arrived in Pemba. The love and care of their SOS Mother and this complete nutrition allowed them to flourish. They developed into exuberant youngsters – full of energy and  always ready for a game of soccer.

Tiago's talent for soccer became apparentas he played games in the SOS Village. In one game, he dribbled past three defenders and went on to score a goal. Tiago was soon playing for the SOS Village’s soccer team in matches against other community teams.

Tiago was invited to play for the provincial team in Cabo Delgardo (in northern Mozambique), which competes in a league with other provincial teams.

"I would love to play as well as David Beckham. But I know that to be a professional soccer player takes a lot of hard work. I'm willing and excited to take on the challenge, even while keeping up my grades at school!" Tiago said.

"If his talent and enthusiasm continue to thrive, it may be possible for Tiago to transfer to the youth facility in Maputo when the time comes, so that he can better develop and explore his talent. There is a school specializing in soccer in Maputo," says Antonio Carvalho, the Pempa Village Director.