Socceroo Mabil bernama Young Australian of the Year



Didukung dengan menerima penghargaan Young Australian of the Year, pemain sayap Socceroos Awer Mabil berharap dia dapat membawa kesadaran yang lebih besar terhadap penderitaan para pengungsi saat dia ingin menemukan kembali kecintaannya pada sepak bola di klub baru Sparta Prague.

Pria berusia 27 tahun itu mendapat penghargaan Australian of the Year atas karya yayasannya – Barefoot to Boots – yang menyediakan alas kaki olahraga dan peralatan medis untuk kamp pengungsi Sudan Selatan di Kenya tempat ia dilahirkan.

Mabil telah mengalami banyak hal untuk mencapai tingkat kesuksesan yang dimilikinya. Setelah melarikan diri dari Sudan bersama keluarganya, Mabil dibesarkan di kamp pengungsi Kenya, sebelum tiba di Australia pada usia sepuluh tahun. Menerima penghargaan membawa arti penting bagi Mabil, datang empat tahun sejak dia kehilangan saudara perempuannya dalam kecelakaan mobil yang tragis pada tahun 2019.

“Saya pikir dia akan berkata, ‘Hei adik kecil, kamu baik-baik saja’,” kata Mabil.

“Ini adalah hari yang campur aduk (untuk keluarga) tetapi energinya selalu bersama kami dan saya akan terus membawa namanya.”

Dia mengatakan momen paling mengharukan dari karya amalnya datang ketika yayasannya menyumbangkan dua inkubator ke rumah sakit setempat.

“Bagi saya itu adalah pencapaian terbesar karena Anda memberi kehidupan, saya tidak tahu berapa banyak nyawa yang telah diselamatkan,” katanya.

“Saya mewakili anak-anak di pengungsian yang tidak mendapat kesempatan.

“Sebutan ‘pengungsi’ hanyalah sebuah nama karena seperti yang saya katakan sebelumnya, selama kita lahir ke dunia ini, itu semua adalah rumah kita.

“Itu (kamp pengungsian) mengajari saya nilai untuk tetap bersatu dan bekerja keras.

“Jika kita semua bisa saling membantu satu per satu, dunia ini akan menjadi tempat yang lebih baik untuk kita semua.”

Ini adalah kedua kalinya bintang sepak bola Australia menerima penghargaan tersebut, dengan kapten Matilda Sam Kerr meraih penghargaan tersebut pada tahun 2018. CEO Football Australia James Johnson mengakui imp[otance of the achievement at the Awards Ceremony in Canberra.

“On behalf of Football Australia and the Australian football family, I want to congratulate Awer on being named the 2023 Young Australian of the Year,” said Johnson.

“Awer’s contribution to Australian football as an immensely talented and popular member of the Subway Socceroos, and to society at large through his charity work, is a testament to the person and role model that he is.

“To have two members of our current senior national football teams in Awer and previously Sam, with their proud diverse backgrounds, being bestowed with such honours, is a reflection of the sport’s impact on Australian society today.

“Football is played by almost two million people across Australia and is more multicultural than any other sport. Awer’s story is a demonstration of how football represents modern-day Australia like no other sport and its inherent power to enrich lives and drive positive change within communities.”

Mabil’s mother and uncle accepted the award on his behalf, while he is currently in Czechia, playing for Sparta Prague, where the Socceroos star admitted it ‘was an honour just to be nominated.’

“To be honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Mabil said at his Prague club in vision shared by Football Australia.

“For me it was an honour just to be nominated. Two months ago I was also nominated for the South Australian Young Australian of the Year. For me that was a big moment. To win that was one of the biggest moments in my life.

“To be able to be named Young Australian of the Year gives me power to continue doing what I’m doing. For me, I love to help people. I’m really motivated to build on from this.”

“My mum and my uncle went to Canberra … It was quite cool, when they called me (saying): ‘we just met the Prime Minister!”

“Yesterday I Face Timed them and talked to some people there. Actually, I talked to Craig Foster, we had some nice words to each other. That was pretty cool, to talk to somebody who’s a former Socceroo and also doing amazing, great stuff for our beautiful country. For me, that was nice.”

Only finding out about his win just before training – Mabil admitted it was hard to concentrate and stay focused.

“I woke up and I tried to keep my phone on silent. Just before I went out to training that’s when I found out I had won it! So I quickly turned off my phone and went to training before I got distracted,” he laughed. “But during training I was obviously distracted, thinking how big this is for my family and also for our footballing community.”

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