When 11 young African students in exchange in the North of Brazil decided to set up a futsal team to play in the university tournament, they did not imagine they could be invited to play in another Brazilian state. It all started in the regional round of the Brazilian University Games (JUBs), with the participation of the team representing the Federal University of Roraima (UFRR). They did not qualify for the national round, but were invited by the Brazilian University Sports Confederation (CBDU) to play in the competition.

The long awaited victory was not sealed in Cuiabá (MT), the host city of the 2016 JUBs, but a legacy more important than a medal was recorded in this edition: the students opened precedents so that other African university athletes can also participate in the competition.

Sports Exchange Term of Cooperation

With their presence, CBDU invited the president of the Federation of African University Sports (FASU), Michael Malumbete, to sign a partnership and a technical cooperation agreement for Brazilian and African athletes to realize sports exchange. Malumbete watched a match of the African students in exchange and repeatedly mentioned: “What an incredible idea”. He had a nice chat with the students and said that the partnership has everything to go right.

“I found this integration incredible, they are boys from different countries and here they are representing the African continent. I am very happy to witness this participation and to be able to sign this partnership for sporting exchanges with Brazil, through CBDU”, said Malumbete. FASU president also highlighted that the partnership could demystify prejudices on the African continent.

“The myth of people living with lions in their homes needs to stop. We are not just poverty, we are scientific advancement, research, development in sports and facilities”, said. Under the agreement, Malumbete also hopes to attract sponsorship for university sports on the continent, one of the greatest difficulties. “There is so much more that can be developed”, he said, also defending that the sponsors who support universities and university sports are not just supporting the training of good professionals: “They will be investing in a more peaceful world”.

CBDU president Luciano Cabral explains that the partnership, stamped by the International University Sports Federation in the Americas (FISU America), is part of a project started in Brazil that aims to develop and promote university sports in the American and African continents. “Our goal is to exchange experiences among athletes, coaches and, especially, managers, to create a similar university sports environment, strengthening relations between the two continents and among all the countries that are part of FISU America and FASU”.

Luciano Cabral also spoke about the invitation made to FASU to meet the JUBs and to establish the partnership. “We invited the president of FASU to know our games, the model that we apply and, from there, we will establish a series of events, commitments, seminars, participations and exchange programs with the exchange of experiences. We believe that this partnership will contribute greatly to all countries affiliated to FASU and FISU America, as the African and American continents have a greater number of countries that need support and the exchange of experiences, so that we can grow and develop university sports”.

Vice President of CBDU and president of the FISU America, Alim Maluf Neto said that now universities need to be interested to participate in the construction of the agreement. “We want this exchange of expertise with Africa to enable our professionals to be better and to allow the exchange of experience among athletes”, said Maluf, who hopes to have African teams competing in the Brazilian University Games (JUBs) next year.

Participation in JUBs

The student Magloire Kuyndama Abiss, 22, has been in Roraima for almost three years. He is from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is studying Civil Engineering at the Federal University of Roraima (UFRR). Abiss said that his participation in the JUBs was the best experience he had in Brazil. “I’m happy for everything that happened in Cuiabá, it was an incredible experience. I really want to be in the competition next year so that I can meet and receive my continent’s companions and be able to help them here. I congratulate and thank CBDU for the invitation, I met people from all over Brazil and it made me even more in love with this country”, he said.

Exchange program

Bambock Edingele, 22, is from Cameroon. He has already auditioned for professional football in Germany, France and Spain. “Three times I had injuries when I was about to sign good contracts. So my father told me it was a sign and that I should not go this way. I chose to study Agronomy in Brazil and since then it has been a very good experience. Especially now that, along with my studies, I can play football”, he said.

The academics are in Roraima through the Undergraduate Agreement Students Program (PEC-G). They come from Benin, Angola, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Sao Tome and Principe, among others.

Upon arriving in Roraima, they receive the same conditions as a regular student, besides being able to participate in programs that provide scholarships and aids that contribute to the maintenance in Boa Vista and to the best use of the studies.