On a very hot & sunny Saturday afternoon on October 13th the Italian club soccer team had the privilege to play a home match against Mthatha City Deaf F.C – An underprivileged deaf soccer side from Phillipi.
This was an unusual game for our boys as no one in our team had ever played a match like this… and it proved to be one of the most uplifting and inspiring soccer matches we have ever experienced.
As one can imagine in any team sport, communication is an extremely important key, and effective communication in the game of soccer provides teammates with valuable information for making optimal decisions on and off the ball.
Now what if this was taken away from you or you were never blessed with hearing to begin with? How would you cope? This thought had not crossed any of our minds before…
Thankfully in the sport, communication isn’t only limited to verbal commands – body language, gestures and movement can be just as effective for communicating on the field. Gesturing to a space where you want the ball, pointing out an attacker that needs to be marked, or making deliberate runs off the ball, are all ways to effectively communicate your intentions to teammates. The more you communicate to your teammates, the more information they’ll have in the moment. With more information, players are better apt to make split-second decisions with desirable outcomes.
Although what about the referee??? If you cannot hear how do you know when to stop??? This lead up to a very interesting coin toss with our referee Ernest, the Mthatha City Deaf F.C captain Akhona Ntloko and Italian Club capitano Simone Usai. In a very creative way the Mthatha City Deaf F.C captain requested that the referee raise a flag should there be any fouls or infringements during the match – and with much credit to Mthatha City Deaf F.C they were very disciplined in keeping an eye on the referee.
After kickoff our Italian team quickly realized that this team meant business and the contest had a very nice competitive edge… Our opponents worked very hard on and off the ball making the lives of the Italian team very difficult.
However, our Italian side is also no pushover and with many quality soccer players in the squad we quickly took the lead with fantastic skill from our attacker Ivano Benigno. Describing the goal was nothing short of pure Italian class… One on one with the goalkeeper after beating the offside trap, he gave the goalkeeper a faint look to the right and slid the ball past on the left… the ball rolled slowly towards the goal-line where one of the defenders tried to make a last ditch effort to stop the ball from crossing over into the net – but it was too late! 1-0 to the ICCT 20 minutes in!!!
The rest of the match was largely fought in the middle of the field and as our Italian team started to tire in the scorching heat there were many waves of attacks from the Mthatha City Deaf F.C forwards, testing the Italian defense on a number of occasions.
Fortunately for the Italian Club side, the defense was up to the task and blocked all attempts at goal with heroics from our unbeatable goalkeeper Saverio Talotti.
Mthatha City Deaf F.C increased the pressure and managed to hit the goalpost with not much time left on the clock… this was a clear wake up call for the Italians to lift their game and seal the victory…
This happened with only moments left of the game, the Italian Club caught Mthatha City Deaf F.C on a counter attack with a swift through ball down the left side by Riccardo Patane’ to winger Roné Sperduti who was quickly on his way to goal… again one on one with the goalkeeper the ICCT winger Roné lifted the ball over the Mthatha City Deaf F.C number 1 to seal the win for the Italians.
Italian Cape of Cape Town – 2, Mthatha City Deaf F.C – 0 after the final whistle blew (and the final flag was raised) and despite the scoreline, the sport was the winner at the end of the day. The challenge brought two very different teams, players and cultures together in a harmonious match of ‘the beautiful game’.
Ndipiwe Masiba, the Chairperson of Mthatha City Deaf F.C graciously thanked the Italian Club for it’s hospitality and tremendous sportsmanship shown on the day – the day was a huge success and we look forward to another match against Mthatha City Deaf F.C in the near future! 🙂
FORZA Italian Club Cape Town & Mthatha City Deaf F.C!
Italian Club Team photo:
Front row: (from left to right)
Ronè Sperduti; Fabio Pellaccini; Simone Usai; Decio Santos Mane; Enrico Palmieri; Ivano Benigno
Back row: (from left to right)
Marco Pozzobon; Ricci Cinti; Giulio Antonucci; Saverio Talotti; Alessandro Scribani; Riccardo Patane; Dino Talotti