Abdul: a constant surprise! | Sport for All

“The Rocky Defender'

Today we talk about Abdelfatah, known to his friends as Abdul. His affectionate supertutor Matteo, who has been following him since 2009, calls him a ‘rocky defender’. He is 14 years old and has been playing football since the fourth grade, always with a tutor from All Inclusive Sport, a project supported by the Fondazione Milan and part of the Sport for All programme.

At first he played together with his peers, today with a younger team. He has always been passionate about football! His father Mohamed says: “Over the years, football has given him a lot in motor development, greater autonomy and the excitement of counting the days until each training session.

His coach, Luca, on the Guastalla Calcio pitch also tells us about Abdul: ‘From Abdul I learnt not to judge without first trying to understand, because things are often not as they seem. And that we all make mistakes and must continue to apologise. He does it every time: when he gets angry because a team-mate doesn’t understand the involuntariness of one of his fouls, after every moment of anger or frustration. Unfortunately, today the willingness to apologise and make peace is a rare quality, and Abdul shows it to us at every opportunity’.

“The biggest surprise,” the coach continues, “are his improvements in coordination: five years ago we knew a child who had difficulty walking and running, today we have a boy in the team who slaloms with the ball between his feet and shoots at goal. We are all amazed by his results, certainly facilitated by the constant presence of a dedicated tutor. The only regret is not being able to call him up for official matches, due to the age difference. However, having him train with the younger ones has given us another surprise: although Abdul has always been a positive element on the pitch, his (often unintentional) impetuosity used to trigger some misunderstandings with his peers, whereas today with the younger ones Abdul shows the careand attention of an older brother. He is the first to console those who get hurt, the first to make those who enter the field feel welcome: his teammates reciprocate the attention they receive with a sincere affection towards him and with greater understanding when the cleats land at full speed on the calf, instead of on the ball.”

Sport for him is sharing,” adds his tutor Dino, “a great desire to come to the field, the joy of being with friends, with me and Matteo, with the coaches who hold him in high regard. This has also brought great improvements in communication by and with Abdul: we have learned to understand each other, and mutual understanding is an achievement that will go beyond the football pitch’.

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