By Audris Woon
Nobody needs to be hinted on what the recent craze of the world was. Indeed, you guessed it right! FIFA World Cup 2006 has been the talk of the town for the past few months and even days after Italy was crowned as champions. People are still talking about the controversial head-butt that Zidane gave Materazzi.
Amidst the heat of the World Cup, a number of teams from different nations and clubs had been competing to claim another prestigious title. This event was none other than the 2nd Deaf Futsal Championship 2006, organised by the Sports & Recreation Committee of the Deaf (SRCDeaf).
Futsal is an indoor version of soccer, with each team consisting of five players inclusive of the goalkeeper. The match lasts two equal periods of 20 minutes. More unique of the Deaf Futsal Championship was that spectators heard no agitated shouting or shrill whistling. Instead, flags were used as a substitute to signal to the players when a foul or offside was spotted.
For those who attended the matches on 1 and 2 July 2006, the hours that determined the winners of the championship were definitely not disappointing. The outstanding performances put up by the teams were as entertaining and gripping as any of the World Cup matches. The amazing dribbling and passing of the ball, the remarkable saves of the goalkeepers and the spirit of the teams not only raised the heat in the stadium but also showed the maturity of the players.
The Thailand team, for example, wowed the crowd with their nifty footwork and effective ball control. That scored them 10-0 against the SRCD A team in the finals.
The efforts of the SRCD A team, 1st runners-up, should also be applauded. They pulled themselves together in the face of a stronger opponent and applied good defence tactics, keeping their opponents several times at bay. The SRCD A team’s goalkeeper was also commendable for his persevering attitude. He demonstrated some skilful saves, denying his opponents quite a few chances to up their score.
Of course, all the teams deserved encouragement for the enthralling show that put down all negative comments of futsal, and for bringing the atmosphere in the sports hall to fever pitch. Their performances proved their passion and dedication to the sport and clearly showed that deaf players were no less capable, and perhaps even more skilled, at the sport than many players who do not have a disability.
Impressive technique and skills aside, the sportsmanship displayed during the Deaf Futsal Championship was very much praiseworthy. Some professional teams could certainly take a leaf out of their book. There were surprisingly few fouls throughout the whole championship and players were significantly cooperative with the referees and opponents.
One such example was how a player from the Selangor team urged the goalkeeper of the SRCD B team on when he fell and seemed to be in pain. It was also not uncommon to see players holding out a helping hand to their opponents throughout the championship. This effectively brought out the spirit of the game, which is evidently lacking in many professional tournaments today. The players who took part in the championship should take pride in their inspiring attitude which bridged the gap between the teams from different nations.
As said by Martina Navratilova, “Disability is a matter of perception.” The outstanding performance of the athletes during the 2nd Deaf Futsal Championship demonstrated the potential of the deaf players and proved to many in the crowd that if one overcomes his difficulties and barriers, nothing is impossible. Indeed, let us embrace sports as a common language that bridges all gaps.
Thailand : SRCD D
14 : 0
SRCD B : SRCD C
4 : 1
Selangor B : Selangor A
5 : 2
SRCD A : One United
Walkover (SRCD A win)
Thailand : SRCD B
9 : 0
Selangor B : SRCD A
4 : 4 (Extra Time 4 : 5)
3rd - 4th Placing
SRCD B : Selangor B
1 : 3
Thailand : SRCD A
10 : 0