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Futevolei with Dunga

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“Me and Dunga were certainly on the same wavelength today, we were basically reading each other’s minds.”

This was my colleague Tommy waxing lyrical about Dunga. Unfortunately this was not THE World Cup winning Dunga but a slightly less famous one.

This was Dunga, a coach who was putting me and Tommy through our paces at futevolei, one of Brazil’s most popular past times.

For those of you who have not heard of futevoli before it is basically a cross between football and volleyball played on a volleyball court. You can’t use your hands, but can use your head, legs, chest and shoulders to get the ball over the net.

Having already safely navigated another beach sport in bodyboarding (you might be noticing a trend here) we decided a sport closely related to the beautiful game (football) might be a good shout.

futevolei 6Dunga (pictured centre right) got us doing some simple header and volley drills (just like being back at school in the UK) before setting up two separate games to see what we were made of.

I quickly realised that volleying or chesting a ball over the net was much more difficult on sand compared to concrete or normal grass.

When I say difficult I mean to say I shanked countless shots into the abyss.

Like any proud Englishman I carried on like nothing had happened and I quickly found a niche to my game. Heading.

I have never considered myself as strong in the air but on the futevolei court I was teeing up some lovely shots for my team mates with delicate headers as well as winning some as well.

My coach in this game who I called ‘Fred’ (after the current Brazilian striker) decided to call me Rooney. Obviously because of my heading ability rather than my constant mishit volleys.

futevolei 2Alongside me on the other court Tommy (pictured right in the flowery shorts) had also found a niche. Serving. With the precision and technique of David Beckham, my colleague was wowing his team mates (including Dunga) with some fantastic serves which had the opposition stumped.

We had our rough edges but we were once again immersing ourselves (without disgrace) into Brazilian and Rio culture.

Yes we couldn’t quite do overhead kicks and “shark attack” moves, but we could just about survive on the futevolei court. Tommy even linked up with Dunga, which is certainly something he can tell the grandkids in the future. 

Listen to the futevolei Taste of Rio feature on programme 12 of Planet Sport - Destination Rio 

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