What a great story. A Quebec under-14 soccer team all wore turbans at their big game on Saturday to protest the injustice of the Quebec Soccer Federation ban on turbans.
Although there are no Sikh boys among the 18 [Broussard] team members, age 14 and under, Leheta asked them what they would do had one of them been excluded because of a turban.
“I told them you can either say: ‘It’s not my problem,’ or you could decide to do something to help out.”
With the enthusiastic support of his players and their parents, the coach headed off to the Sikh temple in LaSalle the next morning before the big match and borrowed 20 orange scarves that the boys then donned as turbans at their game in Brossard.
The referee didn’t object while doing an equipment check, until he spoke to the coach of the Granby team.
“The ref came back said we couldn’t play if we were going to wear the turbans, so I showed him the FIFA rules and he said OK,” Leheta said. “But as I shook hands with the Granby coach before the game, he said he thought what we were doing was stupid.”
The Brossard team lost 2-1 in the end, but learned an invaluable life lesson, the coach said.
“I was so proud of them,” Leheta said. “(They understood) that today it’s Sikhs (being banned) and tomorrow it’ll be someone else.”