Central Leader : February 4th 2010
www.centralleader.co.nz Friday, February 4, 2011 Aiming high: Emman Rahimi is a ball of energy -- his football training programme keeps the 13-year-old occupied for most of the week, not that he minds. Photo: JASON OXENHAM Teen is on the ball By HANNAH SPYKSMA PLAYING football for New Zealand is the dream of one Mt Roskill teenager and his passion for the sport is taking him closer to that goal. Emman Rahimi has just returned from a two-month training academy in Vitoria, Brazil. Selectors were impressed by his attitude and skills and asked him to come back and train with Vitoria Football Club for several months later this year. The 13-year-old hopes the opportunity will one day see him representing his nation. I want to play for the All Whites because New Zealand gave me a home,'' he says. Emman was born here but his family first came to Auck- land as refugees from Afghanistan. I'm very passionate about football -- sometimes I can't even sleep for the whole night before a game.'' It was his determination that impressed selectors in Brazil. All the professional coaches look at him and know this kid is something special,'' the teenager's Auckland- based coach Habib Makrandi says. The skill he has is very good, especially for his age. But Emman also has that touch, that soccer mentality.'' Letters of praise from Brazilian coaches highlight Emman's outstanding ability to control the ball, a skill the midfielder credits to watching his favourite club Barcelona. His mum Lida says her son has been playing football ever since he could walk. The teenager will train and go to school in South America when he returns mid year. And his other dream of playing for his favourite club is also getting a little closer. His coach is already talking about setting up a further scholarship for him to move to Spain and finish his schooling at a soccer acad- emy. But first Makrandi says the youngster has a bit more growing to do. While he excels with skill based drills, it will be a few years before he has the endurance to play in big leagues. So it's back to school and training for now, not that Emman minds. He says he is very thankful to his parents and his uncle for always giving him the best advice before games, and to Variety -- The Children's Charity, Cadbury, and Aeroli´neas Argentinas who all helped him get to Brazil.
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