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Soccer News of Friday, 13 April 2012

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The Feminine Side Of Amputee Football

By Theodore M.K. Viwotor, from Manchester, UK


The femininity of Amputee Football was on display at the just-ended mini international tournament at the Leigh Sports Village in Manchester in the United Kingdom, giving hope of a full scale involvement of ladies in the game in the near future.

Since the game started some three decades ago, ladies have not been involved at the frontlines so the presence of a female player and two physiotherapists marked the beginning of a new phenomenon that would make Amputee Football more gender-balanced.

The Irish team featured a female player, Mandy King, who added a feminine touch to the competition that brought together England, Ireland, Poland and Germany. Together with her fellow physiotherapists (not amputees), King has broken the tradition of a male-dominated game.
In an interview, King, a 36 year-old mother of three, recounted that she was amputated as a result of a cancerous infection that affected her left limb and was introduced to the game some four (4) months ago at the hospital.
She took interest in the game since then and as she put it, “it’s great and I love it.” To her, being the first ladies to play at the international level was exciting and she is just enjoying it. As a housewife, she indicated she has not difficulty managing her household and playing, disclosing that it keeps her very fit. Though she is not yet officially penned down in the Irish national team, she said the experience she has had is worth it.
Katrina Wilkon is the Physiotherapist of the English National who has been with the team for the past two years. With her qualification as a Physiotherapy Specialist, Katrina takes time off her busy schedule to contribute her quota to the team. She could not be with the team at the last World Cup in Argentine due to work schedule but always makes her vacation time available to the team. It was a beautiful spectacle watching her take the team through some special exercises to put them in shape for a match.
The German team also has a Physiotherapist, Juliana, who, for the past eight (8) months has offered her services to the German National team that have a few years of experience in Amputee Football.
One exceptional thing about all these ladies is that they do not get paid for their services since they do it out of love for the beautiful sport.
In Ghana, some ladies are or were involved in Amputee Football, except that the nation is yet to get a female player in its national team, the Black Challenge.
Naa Darkua Doodu, until recently, was the Team Manger of the Black Challenge who took care of the needs of the team, especially during their travels to international tournaments, including the World Cup in Argentina and other international friendly matches.
Alvina Ekem is currently the Physiotherapist of the Ghana team but due to her short stay, she is yet to have a taste of the World Cup. She was in charge of the team at the last Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF 2011) in Accra and travelled with the team to Liberia to play a friendly in Monrovia, Liberia.
Rita Enyonam Doe is the Welfare Officer of the team and her exposure at the CANAF 2011 puts her in a good position to do more for the Amputee Football.
Mercy Dede Acquah has been the Personal Assistant to the President of the Ghana Amputee Football Federation, who doubles as the President of the Amputee Football Federation of Africa, Mr. Francis Adjetey Sowah.
These ladies are breaking new grounds and drawing the curtain on perhaps a new perspective of the sport, where the world would have an Amputee Football Women’s World Cup to equal that of able-bodied women.
It is possible but no wishes for more amputees except to give hope to those who are already in that unfortunate situation.