by Iwedi Ojinmah 17 December 2011, 20:23
SS Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to Chat with Super Sports. We visited your venue I must state it’s quite impressive. So right off the bat who is Pedro Rodrigues ? What is his fascination with Beach Soccer and why Lagos?
I am Portuguese born in Porto, but lived in Lisbon all my life. Before I started working on Beach Soccer I had the opportunity of working with the Spanish and French professional football leagues in the communication and marketing areas. For the past 2 years I was the communications and research manager for the Association of European Professional Leagues (EPFL) settling and managing the EPFL knowledge centre developing innumerous benchmarking reports in Professional Leagues’ Organisation, Structure, Marketing, Communication and Governance.
The fascination with beach Soccer was born because it is one of the fastest growing sports. It was both attractive and logical to locate in Nigeria, especially Lagos, because Nigeria has an astonishing amount of beautiful beaches and with a population of over 100 million you can be sure that it is one of the biggest growing markets in the World. Additionally, the passion for football in the country and its influence in African culture makes it a gateway for the development of the Sport in this region.
SS We noticed that the sand the teams will be playing on is different from the indigenous sand here at the Eko Beach. Its more powdered and finer and has a different colour. Can you fill us in on what type it as and why you are using it?
We are using soft sand from underneath the sea bed because it is one of the requirements of FIFA Beach Soccer World Wide. The great thing about the sand is that it does not get hot with the sun, also the sand does not stick as much as the sand in Lagos. Combined it makes for the ideal playing surface allowing the players to fully display their talents.
SS What criteria was used in selecting the teams invited? Why for instance is the defending WC Champion Russia not here?
Russia are not here because at the time we made negotiations Brazil were World Champions. We concluded our negotiations and it was only after this that Russia were crowned Champions, however I am sure that as Copa Lagos grows we will be able to invite more teams. South Africa is here to honour the great strides they made for African teams in Beach Soccer they were the first African team to qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Wide tournament. Finally we decided to include England because they have a history with Nigeria both sporting and political and English is the official language of Nigeria.
SS After Copa Lagos is over what do you envision for the newly converted Nigerian Beach Soccer fans?
Well after Copa Lagos we are in discussions with Fifa Beach Soccer World Wide to help develop the game over here in Nigeria. It is our wish to begin leagues and get more professional beach soccer players. We are intending to generate more news and beach soccer stories to keep the interest constant.
SS What do you see as the biggest hurdle facing a local League other than sponsorship?
I believe attendance is a concern it is also very common especially with a concept which is new. Many people at first will not see the point in attending matches, but we hope with the success of Copa Lagos that attitudes and perceptions will be changed.
SS To piggy back on that tell us as tiny about Kinetic Sports and what role- if at all – you intend to play in making this sport not just a fad because Nigeria has had a horrible year in football, but something permanent ?
I am sure the Super Eagles will rise again, but we are taking measure to really develop Beach Soccer in Nigeria. We hope to develop leagues and provide more facilities. With our Beach Soccer Clinic programme we aim to reach kids and educate them about the game and teach them new skills. We hope to develop future Champions who will restore the pride back in Nigerian sport.
SS Pedro who will win Copa Lagos?
Portugal aren’t playing so I won’t mention them, honestly with the level of capability in all sides it’s very difficult to predict. Of course Brazil are fantastic but England, South Africa and of course Nigeria having astonishing talents.
SS Thank you again for talking with us and we here from the DStv, Multichoice and SuperSport family certainly wish you all the ideal and dare we state see you again – soon ?
Of course I hope to be back soon, especially now I have been accepted as a Lagosian.
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