Watch: 'So if it's my dream, I got to take it no matter what' - Auckland kid closer to realising Brazilian football goal

For any Kiwi footballer, an opportunity to train on the grounds where global superstars like Pele and Neymar started off is a dream come true.

At just nine-years-old, Mahaki Pomare-Rakena has done more than that after a video of his skills earned him invitations to train in the futsal departments of some of Brazil's most prestigious clubs.

Mahaki Pomare-Rakena and Anas Al-Afaghani were invited to train with Brazilian clubs including Santos. Source: Supplied

He and another aspiring junior, eight-year-old Anas Al-Afaghani, trained at eight clubs including Santos, Fluminense, Parana, Atletico Paranaense and Santa Cruz over five weeks. The trip was arranged by their Auckland-based futsal coach Callum Christopher, who also accompanied them to Brazil.

Santos, the club where Pele starred for 18 years, and others have invited the pair back for futher training in the future while Parana and Santa Cruz have offered Pomare-Rakena an opportunity to play in their futsal programme during the first half of next year.

Raised in a Maori family in Mt Roskill, Pomare-Rakena used to play both rugby league and football on the weekends, but it was clear from an early age which code he was passionate about.

"I used to kick any ball. Tennis ball or basketball, a rugby ball – even socks," said Pomare-Rakena.

The Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o nga Maungarongo student trains three times a week in Christopher's futsal programme, which uses a curriculum and methodology derived from Brazil's top clubs.

He plays above his age grade in Auckland and will be even better after matching up against kids in Brazil.

"How we play rugby, they play soccer as hard as us," he said.

Under FIFA regulations, neither player can sign a playing contract with an overseas club until they turn 18. They are permitted to train only or play as guests in their futsal programme, which has been used as a stepping stone for a number of professional players.

"So if it's my dream, I got to take it no matter what," Pomare-Rakena said.

"I only get one chance at life to have this, have like an opportunity like this."


Mahaki Pomare-Rakena was invited to some of the most prestigious clubs in Brazil. Source: 1 NEWS



Tongan powerhouse weightlifter David Liti gunning for gold for NZ at Commonwealth Games

Kiwi weightlifter David Liti is a force to be reckoned with, the 21-year-old weighs 166kg and is confirmed to compete at next year's Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

The Tongan powerhouse is expected to medal before taking the sport to new heights.

In Liti's first senior competition he recently placed 14th at the World Champs.

He is coached by Tina Ball who first came across Liti as a year 10 student at One Tree Hill College, where his focus was on rugby, playing alongside the likes of Rieko Ioane in the Auckland age grades.

"To be honest, it’s boring at first, you just come to snatch and clean and jerk," said Liti.

"You're just like 'who wants to do this?'"

Liti is the only Kiwi junior to ever clean and jerk over 200kg, he is now New Zealand's top ranked superheavyweight.

The New Zealand weightlifter is the second youngest of 11 sibling and admits his journey has been tough.

"So my mum used to give me five dollars a day, so that was like two dollars and twenty for the bus fare and then you get two dollars eight for whatever you're gonna buy, that buys you nothing," said Liti.

"So I used to always eat bad, once a day – sometimes not even, don't even eat some days."

Tina Ball is like a second mum to the Kiwi weightlifter, with a room for Liti at her house so she can keep a close eye on him.

"It was only her (Tina) and my mum that believed I could be something in weightlifting. I didn't even believe in myself," said Liti.

Liti and his coach are gunning for gold at the Commonwealth Games and also have the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in their sights.

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Peru Football fined after Lima fans found guilty of aiming lasers at All Whites players in World Cup Qualifier

The Peruvian Football Association has been fined by FIFA after fans were found to have directed laser pointers at New Zealand players during their World Cup qualifying match in Lima.

Governing FIFA announced the 5000 Swiss Francs ($NZ7200) fine after investigating the intercontinental second leg match on November 15 which Peru won 2-0 to book a berth at next year's World Cup.

A disciplinary committee viewed footage of a green light flashing on several All Whites, most notably goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, during the match.

Peru copped a heftier fine of 7500 Swiss Francs and a warning for the late issuing of their team sheet for the first leg match in Wellington four days earlier.

A warning was also issued for "pitch invasion by media and improper conduct among spectators" following the win in Lima.

Meanwhile, New Zealand were warned about two minor breaches.

The first was for a delayed kick-off in the Oceania Nations Cup final in June 2016.

The second was for supporters throwing paper darts during a World Cup qualifier against the Solomon Islands in Auckland in September this year.


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