One Goal

by Pep Bonet
 

Sierra Leone’s amputees are a grim legacy of its 1991-2001 civil war. One of the most brutal aspects of the conflict was the use of amputation as a weapon of fear, by both factions. Many of the victims were innocent young men, who were targeted in order to stop them fighting for an opposing side.

At the Murray Town Camp for Amputees in Freetown, at one time home to over 2,000 people mutilated during the war, a group of these young men and boys have come together to form the Single Leg Amputee Sports Club (SLASC). The club has more than 30 members and is recognized by the Sierra Leone Football Association as the un(official) national amputee team. Through soccer, the youths have regained their pride and self-confidence. They aim to play against other international teams and make a living from their sport.

In February 2007, the club – which had already competed in matches in Britain, Russia and Brazil – hosted the first ever All-African Amputee Football Tournament. 

Sierra Leone, Freetown, Kalone, June 2002, A football player from Murray's Dream Team, stretching while training on the beach. Murray's Dream Team is a football team entirely made up of players with one leg. The amputee team are residents of the Murray Town amputees' camp, which is home to victims of rebel atrocities committed during the civil war.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, Kalone, June 2002, A football player from Murray's Dream Team, stretching while training on the beach. Murray's Dream Team is a football team entirely made up of players with one leg. The amputee team are residents of the Murray Town amputees' camp, which is home to victims of rebel atrocities committed during the civil war.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, June 2002. Amputees football field at the MSF camp stretching before the match.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, June 2002. Amputees football field at the MSF camp stretching before the match.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, June 2002, Football players from Murray's Dream Team during a match, which is being held to mark the team's commemoration day.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, June 2002, Football players from Murray's Dream Team during a match, which is being held to mark the team's commemoration day.

Machete wielding rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) left unforgettable scars.

But these sportsmen kept their faith.

They are determined to overcome their trauma and handicap and refuse to be marginalised. 

Sierra Leone, Freetown, November 2003, The team praying before the match.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, November 2003, The team praying before the match.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, April 2003, Portrait of two players of the team.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, April 2003, Portrait of two players of the team.

Single Leg Amputee Sports Club (SLASC)
Single Leg Amputee Sports Club (SLASC)
Single Leg Amputee Sports Club (SLASC)
Sierra Leone, Freetown, June 2002, Amputees football field at the MSF camp a Saturday morning.

Sierra Leone, Freetown, June 2002, Amputees football field at the MSF camp a Saturday morning.


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