Hoops defender Pico Lopes on hand to unveil Africa Day mural in TallaghtMon, May 16 2022
Shamrock Rovers and Cape Verde defender Roberto ‘Pico’ Lopes was on hand to help unveil a new mural in Tallaght to celebrate Africa Day 2022.
The mural is located adjacent to Tallaght Stadium in Old Bawn Community School and was painted by artist Arthur Oner who designed the artwork in collaboration with transition year and fifth year students from the school which backs onto the stadium.
Lopes, who hails from Crumlin, unveiled the mural alongside Colm Brophy TD (Minister for Overseas Development and Diaspora) and Princess Ibrahim and Victorica Doyeni - two of the students who helped with the mural design.
The students inspired the design, working with street artist Arthur Oner to develop the concept, which depicts a portrait of a woman featuring characteristics of both traditional African and Irish dress.
Earlier this year Lopes became the first Irish-born player to take part in the African Cup of Nations as he helped Cape Verde reach the last 16 of the tournament held in Cameroon. His team were knocked out of the tournament by eventual winners Senegal 2-0.
Qualification for the 2023 AFCON begins this summer during the next international window with the tournament set for Cote d’Ivore in June 2023.
Cape Verde have been placed in a qualifying group with Burkina Faso, Togo and Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland).
The Blue Sharks' first qualifier is against Burkina Faso in Marrakech in Morocco on 3 June. They follow that up with a home game four days later against Togo.
The second set of qualifiers in 2022 will take place in September. The top two teams in the group qualify for the finals.
Lopes, who played with Ireland’s under-19 team earlier in his career, has earned 13 caps with Cape Verde. The 29-year-old player is just seven appearances behind Frank O’Neill’s club record for most international appearances while playing with Shamrock Rovers.
This year will see Ireland’s largest-ever Africa Day programme, with events being held nationwide on 25th May. For more information, visit AfricaDay.ie.
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