SAO PAULO (AFP) – A passionate Brazilian football fan has drawn nationwide attention for narrating her local team’s football matches live to her blind and autistic son.
Silvia Grecco and her son Nickollas, 12, have become minor celebrities for the Sao Paulo team Palmeiras after the mother was spotted on TV last year narrating one of their matches from the stands.
“I describe details: this player is wearing short sleeves, the colour of their football boots, hair colour,” Grecco, 56, told AFP during a recent game between Palmeiras and Botafogo de Ribeirao Preto.
Nickollas jumped up and down with friends at the right moments during the match, in unison with the thousands of other enraptured fans wearing the club’s dark green shirts.
“My narrating is something of my emotions. I’m not a professional,” said Grecco. “Everything I see and feel, I tell him, even when I need to blame the referee!”
It is not the first time disabled fans have caused a social media sensation simply by following the sports they love.
During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a video of a Colombian fan narrating a match against Poland to his deaf friend using hand movements went viral.
A Brazilian interpreter then showcased a similar technique with a group of deaf fans in Sao Paulo.
The Grecco mother and son have been featured on various Brazilian TV programmes, and even visited a Palmeiras training session.
The boy’s father and sister however support other teams – so to avoid family divisions his die hard Palmeiras fan mother came up with a scheme.
She resorted to the skills of none other than the boy’s idol, Paris Saint Germain star Neymar, when they met at an event.
“Neymar lifted him on his shoulders and he passed his hand through Neymar’s hair, it was a big moment! So I asked Neymar what team he used to support as a child, and he said he was a Palmeiras fan!
“So I said ‘Do you see, Nickollas? Your mother, your player … I think your team should be Palmeiras!’”
A local businessman recently hosted the duo and some of Nickollas’ friends for the season opening match in a stadium box at the Allianz Park in Sao Paulo.
One little boy with Down Syndrome, who wore huge earphones and the national football jersey, threw his arms in a trusting hug around every stranger.
Another, with autism, wildly rocked to the live DJ music.
But when the match started all attention was on the football pitch, with Grecco narrating throughout.
They weren’t disappointed. Palmeiras won 1-0.