One brother at World Cup, another on Welsh rugby club

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Ben Cabango thought about playing with his brother Theo in their garden.

“It’s just always been used to me and him,” he said. “Looking back, these are just good times.”

The stakes are much higher these days. Ben Cabango is a 22-year-old defender preparing for Wales’ first World Cup match in 64 years against the USA on Monday. Theo is a 20-year-old winger who is preparing to travel to South Africa for Cardiff’s match against the Sharks in the United Rugby Championship.

“I think we both just pushed each other,” Ben said Saturday, “because obviously you’re competitive when you’re both kids wanting to do better than each other.

Ben played rugby and football until he was about 13, then decided to stick with football. His brother played football for a while and is now hoping for a call-up to the Welsh national rugby team.

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“I think rugby basically picked him up for his pace,” Ben said. “He did well.”

Ben played for Swansea’s academy and began his professional career away from the limelight in 2018-19. with The New Saints in the Welsh League. He is playing for Swansea in England’s Second Division and the first of five Wales internationals against Finland in 2020. played as a second-half stoppage time substitute in September.

Wales reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 1958, losing 1-0 to Brazil when Pelé rounded Mel Charles and beat goalkeeper Jack Kelsey in the 66th minute.. Dragons 2011 finished as high as 117th and did not qualify for another major tournament until the 2016 European Championship. They beat Slovakia and Russia in the group stage due to a loss to Englandthen defeated Northern Ireland and upset Belgium 3-1 before losing to eventual champions Portugal in the semi-finals.

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Cabango recalled watching the victory against a star-studded Belgian team.

“I was in that Cardiff fan zone celebrating with all my friends,” he said. “We all want that feeling again. It’s unreal to think about beating big teams like that and we know we can do it.

His parents and girlfriend travel to Qatar on Sunday, where Wales is training near the center of Doha at the club’s Al Sadd facility. The slogan at the top of the interview background reads: “Gorau Chwarare Cyd Chwarae” in Welsh, which means “The team game is the best game”. Players approaching the media are faced with the words “Our Land. Our history, our people.”

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All but four of the players are based in Great Britain, so acclimatizing to temperatures in the mid-80s Fahrenheit (high 20s Celsius) is a little unnerving.

“If we win the first game, the confidence will grow and hopefully it can go a long way,” Cabango said.

Wales will play Iran on Friday and on November 29 will close the group stage with England.

“We can’t wait for that game. I know we are looking at America first,” Cabango said. “There’s always animosity between us and England when we play.


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