Awer Mabil: Sudanese refugee dedicates penalty to his new nation, Australia

Oladimeji Adeoye

Oladimeji Adeoye

Awer Mabil scored Australia’s last spot kick against Peru yesterday, during their last game in the world Cup qualifiers for Qatar 2022. The Australian dedicated his goal as a thank you to Australia that took him and his parents after they fled the Sudan war. His parents ran from Sudan to the Kenya refugee camp where he was born. Mabil survived on one meal a day and played street football until resettling in Australia in 2006.

Australia qualified for their fifth World Cup on a streak yesterday, winning over Peru via a penalty shoot out after both teams had played a barren draw in the first half. Peru missed two shots from the spot kick and Awer Mabil’s last spot kick helped Australia qualify for the World Cup.

He made his senior debut for Australia in 2017, and has played 28 teams in the yellow colours, having gone through the Academy at different levels.

He began his senior career with Campbellton City in 2012, he secured a move to Adelaide FC in 2013 and only stayed two years before switching to Midtjylland FC where he made his most career appearances. After five years he has been loaned to three different clubs by Midjylland FC.

Awer said, “I knew I was going to score. It was the only way to say thank you to Australia on behalf of my family,”

“I was born in a hut, a little hut. My hotel room here is definitely bigger than the hut, the room we had as a family in that refugee camp,” he said.

“For Australia to take us in and resettle us, it gave me and my siblings and my whole family a chance at life.

“That’s what I mean by thanking Australia for that chance of life, that chance of opportunity they allowed my family.”

Mabil has been a regular for the Socceroos under coach Graham Arnold and said he hoped what he had achieved would inspire other refugees.

“I scored, a lot of my team-mates scored, everybody played a part and maybe that refugee kid played a big part,” he said.

Mabil’s brother Awer Bul told the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper his family was overwhelmed with excitement.

“To be a boy who was born in a refugee camp, it was quite a moving moment for our community,” he said.

“Just to see him walk out there for the Australian team gives us a good feeling.”

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