South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Sportsmanship wins the day

Sportsmanship wins the day

Football is an industry driven by results but one of the great things about the game is the ability for people to make friends both on and off the pitch.

Earlier this year on 7 February, our Under 13s played a friendly match against the Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex. In the opening ten minutes, an incident occurred that saw our junior player Yianni Panakos knocked to the ground by a Bentleigh defender (named Dominic) behind play. Yianni lay motionless on the ground initially and suffered an immense pain in his right arm that went from his elbow down to his wrist. It left Yianni sidelined for several weeks and in a great deal of pain.

Fast-forward to 12 March and our Under-13s opened their NPL Victoria East season at Dandenong City with a huge 10-1 win. A man by the name of Robert approached the SMFC parents, introduced himself as Dominic’s father and said that he had come to the match with his son for the sole purpose that his son apologise to Yianni for what had occurred in the friendly match a month prior. Yianni accepted the apology and the boys went off playing as if nothing had happened.

Just a few weeks ago on 17 July, SMFC and Bentleigh played each other in the league. Both sides were in winning form and sitting high on the ladder, giving the game added spice. There was to be no animosity between Yianni and Dominic however, with both boys displaying excellent quality and sportsmanship in a match that saw Yianni score two goals and South triumph 5-4. For the record, Yianni has scored 19 goals in 15 appearances for the Under 13s in 2016!

Since the regrettable incident in February, a strong friendship had developed between Yianni and Dominic. Both players have actually been ill this week – Yianni with the winter blues and Dominic with a football injury – however both have been regularly keeping contact and are good friends now, proving that something negative can be turned into a positive.

We congratulate both boys on their maturity and sportsmanship and hope that our Under 13s can win the title this year!

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