It was a victory in the Chile debut, but a final loss in table tennis against Arturo Vidal. AaFK player Niklas Castro believes the national team pitch in Chile can open new doors.
– It is incredibly big to come from Manglerud and make his debut for the Chilean national team. There were not many imagined – not me either, even though I have always had a dream about it, Castro says to VG.
The world’s 17th best national team named the AaFK player for the second time and on Saturday night, the 24-year-old finally made his debut in the South American World Cup qualifiers.
– I do not know if it has dawned on me. I see how much football means in this country. When we drive the bus to battle, we get police escorts, and people run after the bus and cheer. This does not happen in Norway, says Castro, who has a Norwegian mother and a Chilean father.
In retrospect, messages have hailed in from near and far, and proud friends and family watched the match on TV from Norway in the late hours of the night.
Castro came on in the 84th minute for former Juventus player Mauricio Isla in the 2-0 victory over Peru. On the sidelines was also Inter star Alexis Sánchez, who was replaced in the attacking line at the same time as the Norwegian-Chilean.
He admits that he was nervous before leaving for South America. At the airport, he was greeted by cousins living in Chile, and his new teammates have also welcomed him.
– There are big players, but I have come well into the group, and talk a lot with (Claudio) Bravo and Sanchez. We played a table tennis tournament, where I reached the final, but lost to (Arturo) Vidal. He won Playstation 5, while I won a year’s consumption of Crystal – the local beer here. I do not drink or use it, and have given it to my family. I would love to win that Playstation, laughs the AaFK player.
Inter player Vidal scored both goals in Chile’s victory over Peru. This was the country’s first victory in the World Cup qualifiers in South America. They have four points after three games and are in 6th place.
After the match, Castro had to say a few well-chosen words in front of the team.
– Vidal posted it on Instagram, and I got to say a couple of words in Spanish to lift the mood. I know Spanish, but grew up speaking Norwegian and am strongest there, he says.
This year’s season with AaFK has been a long nightmare for Castro and the rest of the orange and blue. The club is definitely last in the Elite Series with a poor ten points. A relegation is almost inevitable.