Step aside football: gaming new rage in Brazil favelas

Matheus Silva (left) and Yan Martins, of Free Fire’s P4 team, play on their cellphone at the Ceilandia neighbourhood, in Brasilia. Brazilian youngsters are playing less and less football to play video games, which could ultimately have an impact on the Brazilian elite sport, which drew some of its stars from popular neighbourhoods. — AFP

BRASILÍA: Ask Brazilian teen Yan Araujo who his idols are, and he doesn’t hesitate. Not Neymar. Not Vinicius Junior. “Nobru and Cerol,” he says – superstars of the booming gamer scene in Brazil’s favelas.

Like his heroes, 15-year-old Araujo is a die-hard player of Free Fire, an online multi-player game designed for cellphones – perfect for Brazil’s poor slums, where expensive gaming consoles are rare but phones are relatively easy to come by.

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