News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 16th 2019

Deaf Philippi soccer team make loud noise

Sandiso Phaliso

With 2010 World Cup soccer fever escalating, a deaf township team has taken to the fields of Cape Town, providing a forum for deaf youth to get together and changing the attitudes of other players.

The Philippi Deaf Soccer Stars was started by coach and captain Loyiso Mdokwe, 23, who was motivated by wanting to help his deaf brother make friends and the announcement that South Africa would host the 2010 World Cup.

Fifteen of the 19 players who turn out for the team, one of 16 on the bottom rung of the Philippi league, rely on sign language to communicate. Most can’t speak.

Formed over a year ago, the trophy cabinet of the team is empty – they finished 14th out of 16 teams at the end of the league in February – but the value extends beyond on-field glory.

For some of the players, the team has given them a new lease on life.

Many deaf people, especially those in townships, are isolated and not supported by services that would ease their plight.

As midfielder Ndiphiwe Masiba, 22, who lives in a shack in an informal settlement but learnt sign language at a school in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, describes, life in Cape Town had been lonely before the team was formed.

“It was difficult for me because I had no-one to share my thoughts and feelings with, but now I have people to speak to on a daily basis.”

Masiba’s isolation motivated Mdokwe, his half-brother, to begin learning sign language.

After it was announced that South Africa would host the 2010 World Cup, Loyisa reasoned there was no reason why deaf players should be excluded from the benefits of playing the beautiful game.

With the help of friends, he organised deaf people living in Delft, Philippi and Nyanga to form the team so that his brother could mix with other deaf people.

Not only did organising the team help deaf people in townships come together, but other players who were not deaf joined and were encouraged to learn basic sign language.

Defender Sindile Msengana, 42, one of the members of the team who is not deaf, said after a month his perceptions about deaf people had changed.

“I learnt a lot from them and am still learning. I know sign language here and there and we treat one another as brothers.”

Msengana said the biggest challenge was in the field of play. If you wanted to get the ball, he said, you had to make sure you were visible to the ball carrier.

For coach and captain Mdokwe, overcoming the fact that his players cannot hear means constant on-field pointing and hand waving to attract the attention of players.
If there’s time for a group huddle, strategy is communicated through sign language.

Winning is a rarity for the team, but they may have suffered some tough calls.

Mzimasi Kroba, a referee appointed by the Philippi Local Football Association to officiate games played by the club, admits that in the beginning the approach was strictly trial and error.

But Kroba said after officiating at a few games, he was able to adapt and now uses basic sign language to communicate his decisions – rather than opting for a yellow or red card.

With 2010 around the corner, Mdokwe wants his team to one day play in Philippi’s first division. And from there, he dreams of a deaf player getting a place in the national soccer league and even playing for Bafana Bafana, South Africa’s national side. — West Cape News

Tags: 2010, philippi, soccer

Reader Feedback

5 Responses to “Deaf Philippi soccer team make loud noise”

  1. Warren says:

    Great going. Wish this team all of the best.

  2. loyiso mdokwe says:

    loyiso mdokwe player and coach phillipi deaf stars anyone want to help us you can me 0734960504 anytime you can phone me big campanies, goverment and somebody who can take us far or put our names on top so that other people can from what we did and wish this can higher appreatted thanks.

  3. anwar says:

    Hi my name is Anwar & i was a soccer player for Greenwood Atletico soccer club.Im hard of hearing and i do sign language as well.i havent been playing for about a year now as i got married but soccer is my dream and i really would love to play again if you could give me a chance please.Or even if i could help out.thank you so very much

  4. Sandiso says:

    Guys thanks for the comments. Anwar, if you have helped in any way or had joined the team please let me know by posting a reply. Loyiso, if any help has come your way, please let m know.

    Thanls again

  5. Thats wonderful stuff you got on this blog. Have been hunting for details on this all around. good blog

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