A RENOWNED former footballer has wished pupils luck in a school games tournament.

Roberto Carlos, who helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup, sent a video message on Twitter to students taking part in the Specsavers Virtual Sussex School Games.

The games, which normally involve tens of thousands of children competing throughout the year to qualify for a final event at the end of the summer term, have been turned into a virtual competition due to the coronavirus crisis.

Each week, children have the chance to represent their school by taking part in a new sports challenge at home.

Roberto, who is considered to be one of the best left back football players in history, wished pupils luck in the football challenge this week.

The Argus: Crawley School Games Organiser Steven HandCrawley School Games Organiser Steven Hand

Speaking from Brazil, he said: “It’s important that you all continue to study hard, as doing well in school will help you succeed in football.

“So I’m here to wish you all good luck and I hope you score many goals.”

Some 4,500 children have taken part in the games each week so far, from more than 330 schools across Sussex.

School Games organiser for Crawley Steven Hand, who teaches PE at Seymour Primary School in the town, said the competition was a good way for pupils to keep active and compete with children in other areas while in lockdown.

He said: “It’s going from strength to strength. So far we’ve done hockey, tennis and football challenges and everyone is submitting their scores each week on the leaderboards.

"Taking part is the most important thing, and it’s not too late to join – the best way to sign up is through the Active Sussex website.”

Tracy Lewis, who teaches PE at Beacon Academy School in Crowborough and lives in Brighton, has been taking part in the games with her sons Isaac and Ashton.

She said: “We’re quite an active family and they’re really missing the after-school clubs so it’s nice they can still be part of their school community, even though everyone is physically apart.

The Argus: Tracy Lewis and her son Isaac practising for the football challengeTracy Lewis and her son Isaac practising for the football challenge

“It’s great that parents can get involved as well. It gives us a new challenge in what can otherwise be like Groundhog Day-type weeks. The boys did not believe it was real when Roberto Carlos sent that message. It’s fantastic.”

Ed Bartram, events officer at Active Sussex, said: “For many children the Sussex School Games is the highlight of the school year and we were determined they should not lose the opportunity to represent their schools and achieve their personal sporting goals due to Covid-19.”

“Now, more than ever, being physically active can significantly contribute to increased mental wellbeing and self esteem.

“Active Sussex leapt at the chance to offer a virtual opportunity that our young people and parents/carers could enjoy together, and from the comfort and safety of their homes.”