Tottenham midfielders take football into Brazil’s favelas
Spurs are working with the British Council to use football as a way of engaging young people in the World Cup host nation and are using Brazilians Sandro and Paulinho as inspiration.
Brazil’s new stadiums may look impressive but the country faces huge challenges off the pitch. 11 million people live in favelas, often without access to basic public services and where drug crime is rife.
Last week, coaches from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation led community training for some of Rio’s police working on the front line of the pacification programme to improve tournament safety.
Tottenham’s Brazilian midfielders are the ideal people to get involved in the project.
Paulinho looks assured of a starting place in Brazil’s World Cup side and was born less than 10 miles from the Itaquerão stadium in São Paulo, where the opening game will be played between the host nation and Croatia.
Sandro, who has 17 caps, will see his former club, Internacional, host games at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre, while England will play in his home state of Minas Gerais against Costa Rica.
The 24-year-old described the project as “ground-breaking” in building bridges between police and vulnerable youngsters.
The Spurs delegation have also been involved in training Physical Education and English teachers working with children in some of the most deprived parts of the city.