Friday, February 16, 2007

The All African Amputee Football Tournament...

Wednesday after work a group of us went to the National Stadium in Freetown to watch the final match of The All African Amputee Football Tournament, which kicked of Friday the 9th. The tournament included Sierra Leone, Ghana, Angola, Liberia and Nigeria. In the end it was the Ghanaians that won the tournament.

It was awesome to watch the amputees play. Each team had 6 one-legged players and 1 one-armed goalkeeper on the field. They are all amazing to watch- such speed and determination! It fascinates me every time. They move around on their crutches to kick the ball with their single leg faster than I could with two legs. All of the players out there were winners in my eyes.

FYI: Sierra Leone’s team formed in an amputee camp in western Freetown and has already competed in competitions in the UK, Russia and Brazil. The Liberian team on the other hand only started playing three months ago. After the Sierra Leonean team competed in Russia last year they decided they should organize an event in Africa.

Most of the amputee players on the Sierra Leonean team are victims of the civil war that lasted 11 years. Limbs were mainly lost due to gunshot wounds, often received while trying to escape rebels or while caught in crossfire. Players from Liberia and Angola were also affected by the ravages of civil war. Most of the players from Ghana and Nigeria on the other hand lost limbs in accidents or due to infection.

"We're here to explain to our African brothers that after war, after conciliation, something positive is happening. We're like ambassadors of peace," said Mambu, who is star goalkeeper of the Sierra Leone side. He is missing one of his arms.

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~