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It's been years since we had a world-class hero like Denis Law or Kenny Dalglish but the wait could be over thanks to.. PELE'S GRAN.

Byline: GEORGE MAIR

IT'S the answer to every Scots football fan's prayers - Pele has a Scots granny.

Eight-year-old Pele Bangura, named after the Brazilian legend, is being tipped for football stardom and he wants to pull on the dark blue of Scotland.

Despite qualifying to play for four countries including England, Ireland and Sierra Leone, his dream could come true because of his Celtic-daft gran from Greenock.

The youngster from Bonnybridge, near Falkirk, is so highly rated by his coaches that he has been selected from hundreds of young players to train with Brazilian legend Jairzinho - the man who discovered Ronaldo - when he comes to Scotland next week.

Pele's dad Roy, who was known as the Brown Bomber during a spell with English side Leyton Orient, chose the name Pele after his sporting hero.

And the youngster's striking skills were spotted by coaches at his local Brazilian Futebol de Salao soccer school after his family moved to Scotland from London four years ago.

Roy Bangura, 48, now a painter and decorator, said: "My father was African but my mum is from Greenock.

"Although I grew up in East London she always made sure I was a Scotland fan. Pele was my idol and I could never understand why other dads didn't name their sons after him.

"Our Pele is always out playing with a football.

"Pele was born in England but, as far as he is concerned he is Scottish, and all he wants to do when he grows up is play for Scotland.

"The Futebol de Salao school helps kids to develop their ball skills, and Pele's coaches seem to rate him very highly.

"I have heard rival coaches ask who he is, and they can't believe it when they discover his name is Pele.

"He has seen my videos of the great Brazil team and he can't wait to meet Jairzinho.

"It is all he talks about at the moment."

Pele, who goes into primary four after the school summer holiday, said: "Pele was the best player ever and he scored lots of goals like me.

"I like Brazil but I want to play for Scotland and Celtic to make my nana happy."

CAPTION(S):

HERO: Little Pele, above, loves to watch the legend, right; SUPERSTAR: Ronaldo
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 19, 2002
Words:379
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