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Saltos: 'FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup a gift from God for Ecuador.'
The Ecuador goalkeeper discusses how he and his team have overcome the odds to reach Nassau.
Players come from far and wide to compete at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and overcome many obstacles, both personally and as part of their respective teams, in the process.
However, few will have had to deal with unfortunate events like the ones that beset Ecuador goalkeeper Carlos Saltos this time a year ago as he and his family suffered hugely at the hands of flooding and a strong earthquake that followed on the Northern Coast of Ecuador in early April 2016.
As Saltos explains, the misfortune was twofold as first a huge wave of water swept away their possessions before the house itself collapsed a week later when a strong earthquake struck the region.
Despite such testing circumstances, Saltos has always sought to take the positives, as he explained to Ecuadorian newspaper EXTRA recently.
“The first thing I did [after the earthquake] was hug my family,” he said.
“Then I cried. My savings of several years were here and they were lost, although thank God I did not lose any loved ones. Misfortunes like this we always saw on television, I never thought I would be an active part of an earthquake. You have to get out of this step by step.
“Thank God my family were able to run away. If they did not do that, we would be talking about another misfortune.”
And, a year on, while Saltos’ life may not yet be back to normal, the Ecuador international represented his side at the CONMEBOL qualifier in Asuncion, as well as the Copa Pilsener Futbol Playa in El Salvador this weekend, ahead of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
With things back on the up again ahead of the showpiece event in Nassau, he continued: “I can say that the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup has helped me forget the earthquake. I train every day to represent my country. I do not forget that I must continue working and I know that someday I will have my home again.
“The joy of going to the World Cup is a gift from God for this team, we are all from Manabí. It is an opportunity to leave our country and show our best. We are privileged to be among the top 16 teams in the world. They all talk about the pride of representing Ecuador because we have sacrificed so much to get here.
“That's why we go to Bahamas filled with dreams. We have had many problems, but here we are getting ahead with everything. Since 2009 we were close to getting [World Cup qualification]. We have had to wait, and now it’s happened.
“This is the effort of a group of friends who only look out for the good of the country. God knew why he did it, he wanted the World Cup to make us forget the earthquake. We are going to go down in history for being the first [Ecuador team to qualify], and we hope this will serve as an example.”
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