“My life has changed because at one point I was struggling to deal with prejudice in the streets. Now wherever I go I get compliments, wonderful compliments.”
The story of a team entering the pitch to break pre-existing narrow-mindedness, without exception, could not have come at a better time.
A group of dwarfs with an average height of 4ft, comprising of a team known as “Gigantes do Norte”, or “Giants of the North” based out of Belem in north-east Brazil, are entertaining crowds by the thousands.
It all begun when Carlos Lucena, a qualified coach by trade, invited a dwarf friend to play with his regular team in 2006. The friend turned out to be so talented that Lucena decided to create a team with people who were affected by dwarfism. His attempt here – to illustrate that dwarfs can play ball despite their size.
They have not been disappointing either with the team beating rivals on a regular basis – rivals with youth players who are significantly taller than them.
They play on regulation size pitches but are allowed to get on each other’s shoulders to form a wall when defending a free-kick. The beauty of the sport, isn’t it?
‘I have so much pride to be here with these guys who I consider my brothers. I feel happy when I come here to play football,’ says Vagner Love – one of the talented and the most senior members of the team.
The team has generated quite a buzz in Brazilian media and hope that this steam takes them all the way to the World Cup this summer, so that they could meet their Brazilian counterparts.
Their talent and nimble touches on the ball can be viewed in the video below: