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Exclusive: Levante hero Veiga loving life in England with Hednesford Town

It might not be the sunny beaches of Portugal, but Jose Veiga feels proud to be right at home in Tamworth.

The small Staffordshire town, population just under 80,000, has been Veiga's home since 2006, when he made his first football move to England in the non-leagues.

Lisbon-bord Veiga arrived with plenty of experience, having came through the ranks at hometown club Benfica before lengthy spells at Alverca and Levante.

It was with the latter where the wily goalkeeper made his name, helping the Valencian team to the Segunda Division B title in 1998/99 and helped them maintain their division two status for three years.

Veiga had trials with Walsall and Bury after leaving Olhanense in 2006, but eventually signed with Tamworth.

The Cape Verde international would spend the rest of his playing career in England, with spells at clubs such as Macclesfield Town, Harrogate and Worcester City.

Now acting as a player and goalkeeper coach with Hednesford Town, the 44-year-old has revealed his love for English football.

Asked what prompted him to move to the country, Veiga told "What convinced me was the environment and passion people had for football.

"Also, the financial stability in Britain compared to the financial instability in Portugal at the time. Tamworth may not be an elite club like Benfica or Levante UD, but it was elite enough as they gave me the opportunity to express myself in English football.

"I enjoyed the commitment to football here and the warm welcome to the extent that I still live in Tamworth, even when I played for other clubs, representing and being a goalkeeper coach with Hednesford Town."

Unfortunately for Veiga, COVID-19 has put a hold on Hednesford Town's season.

But the veteran says he plans to continue coaching the next generation of young goalkeepers once football resumes again.

"My plans are to be able to pass my experience on to the younger keepers as a Goalkeeper coach," he adds. "I'm GK coach with Hednesford Town first team and I coach the young keepers independently of their age, ability or level with the Elite football academy, based in Tamworth.

"I pass on my experience for an enjoyable game or training session or if they want to pursue the dream of being professional… to give them more chances because i believe they can!"

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