From refugee camp to World Cup, Mabil thanks Australia
Awer Mabil said scoring a penalty in the Socceroos’ shootout victory against Peru on Monday was a way of saying thank you to Australia for accepting him and his family as refugees.
The winger, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp to South Sudanese parents, calmly scored the first sudden-death penalty and then stood by as Andrew Redmayne stopped Alex Valera’s spot-kick to seal the playoff victory in Doha. more info
“I knew I was going to get a goal. “It was the only way for me and my family to say thank you to Australia,” the 26-year-old told reporters in Qatar.
“Because of the conflict, my family left Sudan, and I was born in a tent.” My hotel room here is larger than the one we shared in the refugee camp. The fact that Australia took us in and resettled us offered myself and my family a second opportunity at life.”
Mabil believed that his contribution to Tuesday’s victory would help establish a fresh narrative about refugees in Australia, at least in the football world.
“I now believe I may have an influence on Australian football,” he continued.
“We’ll be at the World Cup.” I scored (the penalty), several of my teammates scored, and we all contributed.
“And, yes, that refugee youngster may have had a role.” So, on behalf of my family, I’d want to thank Australia as a whole.”
Mabil said that he came to Australia as a kid only in time to witness the “Golden Generation” of Socceroos compete in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
He said that the current generation of players were resolved not to be burdened by the memories of Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell wearing the green and gold jersey.
“We want to start our own chapter,” he said. “I view that as inspiration for me.” It’s now up to us to craft our own screenplay. We’ll qualify immediately the next time. As Australians, we usually do things the hard way; it’s time to alter that.”