By Giuseppe Napoli | For World Intellectual Impairment Sport
Defending world champions Portugal are hoping to add more silverware to their country’s trophy cabinet at the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Global Games in Brisbane, Australia, from 12-19 October.
For the team, who claimed World Intellectual Impairment Sport Futsal Worlds gold in 2017, adding the Global Games title would add to their national haul from the UEFA European football and futsal Championships and Euro Beach Soccer League from recent years.
This trophy pursuit is built on strong foundations.
João Campelo was Portugal’s top scorer during the World Championships and joint third overall. Guilherme Silva was fifth. The two athletes are ready for this new challenge and aiming to achieve new success for their country:
“Our expectations are to get there and win although we respect the other teams,” said Silva. “It is an honour to play in such an important competition, I don’t feel any pressure because of our success, we are just asked to do the best we can.”
“Expectations are high of course, we are the champions of the world and we defend the title. For this we have to make it to the final, it is the main objective. Over the years we have become used to the pressure and found various ways to deal with it,” Campelo said.
The two players have similar objectives that transcend their individual talents: “I have no expectations on a personal level. I am going to help the team achieve the best possible result” said Silva, echoed by Campelo: “I hope to be at my best, to help the team achieving the goals we set ourselves. I do not think much individually, I value more teamwork and collective achievements.”
Despite its relatively small size, Portugal has proved to be an extremely successful footballing nation that has produced some of the world’s best players.
“Portugal and the Portuguese are passionate about sport, especially football, and futsal or some sort of adapted football,” Campelo reflected. “The national futsal Championship has a big importance in the country since 1990. Perhaps this and the huge investments of the federation along with the passion made it so successful.”
Campelo believes his team’s relationship is a key element of their success: “The team is very close, we are like family on the pitch and outside. That is the main secret behind the success of our team.”
The World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games are the world’s biggest high performance sports event for athletes with intellectual impairments.
Nearly 1,000 competitors will go for gold in 10 sports in Brisbane from 12-19 October