League of Ireland star mistook AFCON call-up for LinkedIn spam message
Some way to get a call-up
A defender from the League of Ireland heading to the Africa Cup of Nations has revealed that he originally mistook a call-up to the Cape Verde national football team for a spam message on LinkedIn.
Roberto Lopes, who plays for Shamrock Rovers, first received a message from manager at the time Rui Aguas back in 2019, however he ignored the message after he couldn't translate it - almost costing him a chance at international football.
"Through sheer ignorance and probably rudeness, I didn't translate the message!" he told the Daily Mail.
"I just assumed it was spam and was a standard LinkedIn greeting in Portuguese, which I don't speak."
After ignoring the original message, the 29-year-old received a follow-up message from Aguas to see if he had any final thoughts on playing for Cape Verde, who he qualifies for through his father, using Google Translate to help him understand.
— Roberto Lopes (@picolopes) December 18, 2021
"I went back and copied and pasted the original message into Google Translate and he was asking me: 'We're trying to get some new players, would you like to declare for Cape Verde?'" he recalled.
"I was absolutely delighted as I never thought it was a real opportunity and it just presented itself in front of me - I'm just so glad I wrote back to him in time!
"Growing up, you often got the prank phone calls pretending to be a club in England. You don't know how genuine the social media contact is until you get formal contact. The English message settled me and removed the scepticism I had."
Cabo Verde convocada por @Bbista3 para os amistosos de Outubro:
Vozinha (AEL Limassol🇨🇾)
Elber Évora (AZ Alkmaar🇳🇱)
Mário Évora (V.Guimarães🇵🇹)
Diney Borges (FAR Rabat🇲🇦)
Carlos Ponck (Basaksehir🇹🇷)
Steven Fortes (Lens🇫🇷)
Roberto Lopes (Shamrock Rovers🇮🇪) pic.twitter.com/X4z3QxSuAf
— Futebol Cabo-verdiano 🇨🇻 (@FutebolCabo) September 29, 2020
Lopes eventually went on to make his debut for Cape Verde in 2019 in a friendly against Togo and despite his concerns over the language barrier, was made to feel at home as soon as he linked up with the squad for the first time.
He said: "I was very excited to play international football but the nerves were due to the language.
"My mother's Irish and my dad speaks Creole but I never learned it. But once I landed and met the rest of my teammates, they were fantastic with me.
"Everyone spoke English, they all made the effort with me and helped me learn bits and pieces of Creole to help me when I'm on the pitch. It was brilliant, my first trip was amazing."
The defender is now a fully integrated member of the squad and is currently in Cameroon as preparations have got underway for their first game of the tournament against Ethiopia, which takes place on Sunday (January 9).
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