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Chiquinho Conde eyes success with Mozambique


Chiquinho Conde is unquestionably a pioneer. The 58-year-old was one his country’s greatest players and is, by his reckoning, the first Mozambican to play professionally abroad in the post-independence era.

Conde is now in charge of the Mozambique national team, who are one of four teams sat on three points from two matches in their World Cup Qualification campaign.

Yet his journey to being head coach of Os Mambas began long ago. As a young boy, Conde grew up playing his football in the local leagues in Mozambique while studying construction. Belmiro Manaca, Mozambique’s coach at the time, noticed the player’s undeniable talent but encouraged him to first finish his studies, promising him a call-up if he managed to pass his course.

Conde did just that and received his first call-up for the biggest of occasions: The 1986 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, a massive opportunity for the youngster.

“After my exams, I immediately informed him that I’d passed my course. He then gave me the magnificent gift of a national team call-up for what was the first AFCON in Mozambique’s history,” Conde told FIFA.

That was only the beginning of a magical ride for Conde, who was born the youngest of seven boys. Not only did he make his long-awaited international debut, but he had the rare opportunity to play for his country’s senior team alongside two of his brothers: Geraldo, the third youngest — with whom he formed an attacking partnership — and the second youngest, Elcidio, a defender.

“It was remarkable and fantastic. We created history by having three brothers play at the same time,” recalled Conde.

The exposure gained at that AFCON earned Conde a move to Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, to join Maxaquene. While playing there, he was spotted by Portuguese giants Sporting CP and Benfica, each of whom happened to be in Maputo for a tournament.

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