Eighteen Pakistan guys set up a cricket team in a small village in northern Italy called Villarotta, that means “broken house”. An evocative name for this town, hardly hit by an earthquake in 2012. Only 1.300 people live in Villarotta, of which 400 are not Italian: 200 come from Asia, mostly from Pakistan. Cricket is national sport in Pakistan and a great passion for millions, but the town Council of Villarotta prohibited the team to play on its yards. The team didn’t give up and found an unexpected supporter in the aged owner of a former plywood factory, now closed: he allowed them to use the service area for coaching and playing. A broken and inappropriate field, but decent enough for their tournament.
Old machineries and scraps look at their coaching sessions, and the wheat fields that surround the area hide the home run balls. The team plays on this area since 2 years, and still some of the villagers discriminate and flout the Pakistan people. This rural area of the Emilia-Romagna region is not used to immigrants.
I’d like to help the guys, convince the Council to give them a field to play, and make villagers understand that these boys are just like ours: they love sports and play together.
all images and text © Luana Rigolli