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Breaking football barriers

Pravin Narain
Sunday, August 13, 2017

FOOTBALLER Shivneel Sharma is proving football has no barriers.

Sharma, 18, who has hearing and speaking disabilities is a football player for the Gospel High School team preparing for the 2017 Vodafone Fiji Secondary Schools Football Championship at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori today.

"When I was 14-years-old, I decided to take an initiative in football and that is how it encouraged me to be involved in football at secondary school level.

"I am enjoying playing football," he told this newspaper through his interpreter Donald Reece.

"I competed at the Rewa Youth Club and size was not an issue for me and at the moment I am still playing for them.

"My motivation comes from the other people who encourage me to do well and they influence me to be a good player."

Sharma plays in the striker's position and he would play a key role for the school in the championship.

"Fiji and Rewa team football player Iosefo Verevou is my inspiration in local football as he had represented Fiji in the under-17, U19 and U23 teams.

"He is also my neighbour and I always admire him play. He will always be my inspiration in my life," he said.

"My only difficulty is that I cannot hear but I have no problems to communicate through my eyes.

"Some of my team members know sign language and through that, we communicate on the field and my coach (Naween) Naresh is always there to help me on the field. I am ready for the tournament since it will be played in my hometown."

His coach Naresh said Sharma was the baby of the team as he was given respect by other players while being in camp.

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