French Series Futsal legend Sofiane Soufi will make a triumphant return to the court tonight after a seven month recovery from a freak cardiac arrest.
While playing for Pascoe Vale as an over-aged player in the youth competition, Soufi was struck by a rare case of ventricular fibrillation, a condition in which there is uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle.
Revived at the scene by Futsal Oz staff and medical professionals, Soufi was on strict resting orders for a number of months before returning to physical activity.
Two months ago, Soufi started his comeback in the gym. One month ago, he started light training with his club Pascoe Vale, and tonight, in front of an expected large crowd of friends and family, the likeable Frenchman will return to the court.
Soufi has been an instrumental part of Pascoe Vale’s success over the past five years, helping the club win six titles and voted the most valued player in the 2014/15 season.
Soufi says that he feels blessed to be able to get back to game he loves.
“It was a miracle that I survived. After a lot of research on my body, they found me super fit, and there was no reason for this, it just happened suddenly,” Soufi told SeriesFutsal.com.
“The doctors have given me the all clear to come back. They have a protocol to look at and they can’t see anything wrong with me now. I am officially clear to return.
“I feel good. I feel ready. I feel healthy and ready to go, and I feel I’m going to appreciate it more.
“You take everything for granted. Now, I have a better appreciation for family, life and futsal. I can’t wait to get back.”
Soufi says that getting back to full fitness has been hard, frustrating work, but come match time, it will all be worth it.
“At the beginning, I couldn’t run for more than two minutes. I had nothing,” he said.
“Slowly, I’ve been getting better.
“I’m under no illusions that I won’t be at my best. I’m just going to ease back into it – maybe just a few minutes on the court at a time.
“This is just the start of my return to complete match fitness.”
Before his return, Soufi paid a special tribute to family, friends, and in particular Futsal Oz staff member Chaaban Rajab.
“Chaaban saved my life. He helped keep me alive on the day,” he said.
“I have no words. I feel like crying now just talking about it. I will be thankful forever to him.
“My wife was heavily pregnant at the time, and my baby boy was born three weeks after – I think that gave me the strength to make it.
“I thank Chaaban, and all of my family and friends for the support they’ve given me. I’ve invited a lot of people to come down and watch tonight.”
CLICK HERE to catch the live stream action from Round 19, starting at 6:50pm AEDT tonight.
Round 19 fixtures
7:00pm – Pascoe Vale v Brunswick
8:00pm – Metropolitan v Balwyn
9:10pm – Ashburton v Fitzroy
10:10pm – Hume v Collingwood