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25 Apr 2017
Filipe ready to make up for lost time
It is testament to Filipe Duarte da Silva and his love of beach soccer that he continued to train and play the sport in the immediate aftermath of what turned out to be a nasty injury while representing his team Krylya Sovetov midway through last year.
Not that Filipe knew the extent of the damage he had suffered in the tackle until feeling another twinge in his already-injured leg, with later examinations confirming that he had sustained a serious injury to his anterior cruciate ligament.
Filipe, then just 22, had already collected a handful of Brazil caps, building a reputation as one of game’s most fearsome and skilful competitors.
A tough-tackling, combative midfielder, it’s no wonder Brazil boss Gilberto Costa tipped him as one of the world’s finest prospects for the years to come, but, after coming off worst in a tackle during the Russian Cup in September, things looked bleak for Brazil’s latest rising star.
“It felt like a regular tackle, but it turns out I got injured in my ACL,” the 23-year-old explains, following confirmation of his return to the Brazil squad ahead of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
“I kept training afterwards, and in one awkward movement, I felt great pain. I went to the doctor, to see what was wrong with my knee, and after doing some tests he told me it was broken.
“It was very hard for me in the beginning, as I had never suffered a serious injury like this, but Paulinho, our physiotherapist, told me that I would be off the sand for six months. That was a long time and the World Cup, my dream, was on the line.
“It was really tough, having to stay at home, without being able to train, without being able to do what I love the most, playing beach soccer. I even thought it would be difficult to come back to play again.”
As anyone in sport who has suffered a serious injury will tell you, recovery is as much a mental process as a physical one. While most scars and breaks will eventually heal, often the conviction and confidence to compete at full speed back at the highest level is harder to come by, as Filipe experienced firsthand.
“Only those who have suffered such an injury know how painful it is, how hard it is, you need to be very patient, very perseverant and you need to have a lot of faith,” he continues.
“I worked with Paulinho very intensely, but I always kept cool and calm. He kept telling me: ‘You will get there in time, have faith, you will get there in time.’ And thank God I did, and I am healthy and fit again.
“At the beginning of my recovery training, it was mostly based on physical training, I was a bit insecure. I was afraid to get injured again at first but I gained more and more confidence, and, although when I ran my knee was unstable and that made me very afraid, that moment passed.
“Thank god I kept improving and the dream I had been longing for for so many years was about to come true.” That dream will come true for Filipe on Friday, April 28th when he represents the Verdeamarela at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup - his first appearance at the sport’s showpiece spectacle.
Filipe already has a number of medals from his time with Brazil but his career will step up a gear when he heads out onto the sand at the National Beach Soccer Arena at Malcolm Park in his country’s famous yellow jersey against 2015 runners-up Tahiti.
With his coach’s backing, and the injury troubles of last year behind him, Filipe is ready to help Brazil challenge for their fifth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup title.
“The first World Cup is always special, plus wearing this jersey is a unique sensation and also a great responsibility,” he adds. “I am very happy and I hope I will be able to represent my country in the best possible fashion.
"I will do my best, for myself and for my teammates, because I want to feel that everything I suffered, all the suffering and pain I went through, made me stronger, more perseverant and gave me more faith."