This interview to Fabio Prates, Nõmme Kalju Brazilian midfielder, appeared originally in the 'Papo da Varzea' a blog-column of the Brazilian media 'UOL' in the sport section.
'Rumori di Spogliatoio' offers you a translation.
Amateur football is full of cool stories to tell.
In recent years, this is one of the players that has impressed me most on a dirty field.
I watched Fabio ‘Fabinho’ Prates at a game on the pitch of the Nacional. However, it was on the field of the Americano, behind the cemetery of Vila Formosa, that I became a fan of him. Mastering the game, how he is able to, it seems easy on the grass. Doing what he does on the grit, only few can.
The ball touch is different. The vision of play, rare. Anyway, it was a mystery to see a player like him in lower league fields. However, in Brazil it’s like this: many good people trying to turn professional and some end up in alternative ways. He is one of those. At 28, he has already played in clubs from five countries. He left Brazil early, went through Vietnam, Honduras, Bangladesh and now Estonia.
"Of course, as a player, you want to stay in a club, to identify with the crowd, create a story. I have this dream. But the experiences I have lived so far, they have been very enriching" says.
The most striking experience of these was in Bangladesh.
In late 2012, he was hired to play for Brothers Union in the B -League, the elite of local football. On the pitch, the experience was not the best. He suffered an ankle injury and returned to Brazil before the end of the contract.
Apart from that, he experienced one of the most difficult moments of his life: he had to literally circumvent a political armed conflict to get home. "Shortly before returning to Brazil, I decided to go to a mall, alone. Normally, I used to go with a colleague who had been living in the country longer. At that time, I was alone. I should not have gone".
While he was at the mall, an armed conflict burst in the city of Dhaka where he lived. The problem was political, and dated back to the war of independence in the 70’s. "They were screaming, fire in the street and police firing on protesters who were passing. There was even a tank" he says.
Fabinho had to leave the place to get home. "I asked God: ‘help me. Illuminates this card and does not happen anything’ (Fabinho was in car trying to get back home – A.P.). It was the most painful situation I've been through" As a good Brazilian, he dribbled the conflict. Passed the spot safely. A week later, he was back in Brazil.
"All the experiences we go through in life are positive. Bangladesh was no different . The football was very strong, very physical, with a presence of many African players. Also, I learned a lot from the social situation of the country. There was a lot of poverty. It was a shocking first impression, but something that makes us grow too."
Today, he is in a new adventure. Almost as unusual as the previous one.
His manager, Guilherme Ferreira, from Elite Squad management, led him to Kalju, in Estonia. Last season, the team played in the Champions League - got to the third qualifier. This year is already secured in the qualifying round of the Europa League . "It is not a country known for football, but the club is outstanding. The structure is great and the people welcomed me. Mainly the assistant coach, Getulio Fredo, who became a second father. The head coach is also giving me very good support. I was warmly welcomed by the president and the teammates."
For the time being, Fabio will have time to adjust to an annoying Estonian detail: the cold. He went to Estonia in December and so far he has faced no positive temperatures. "It went down to -20’C. And the highest temperature was up to -2’C. However, the country here is prepared to this weather. They do not stop doing anything because of the weather"
The adaptation has been good: he has already played three games for the team, he was always given a start. In last weekend, he scored a brace in a 6-0 win over Paide Linnameeskond.
by Bruno Doro (Papo da Varzea – UOL)
A special thanks from 'RdS' to Getulio Fredo for assistance in the translation