Africa | In Liberia’s hidden places, amputee players wait for empowerment (w/ podcast)

Monrovia, Liberia | Football has its hidden stories, but even when these stories are reported some aspects still remain hidden.

Such is the case with amputee footballers of Liberia, who on Apr 6 defeated neighbor Sierra Leone to earn the championship of the second All Africa Amputee Cup of Nations. In the final at Antoinette Tubman Stadium—the facility named for the spouse of former president William TubmanJunior Kulee scored Liberia’s lone goal.

The segment, reported by Ackerman, aired on Foreign Exchange on 4 Jan 08. Peter Tarr, describing the routine of begging on Monrovia streets, says that “we wait for people who got golden hearts.” (Copyright © 2008 Azimuth Media | World Security Insitute, in association with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, 8:12)

Journalist Ruthie Ackerman had come across a side of amputee footballers during a reporting visit to Monrovia. Unlike earlier media reports, the results of her investigation—including an article in The Nation (“Scars and Stripes,” 28 Jan 08)—focused on the less seemly aspects of the amputees’ stories: that they must beg for their bread and that many have been left in the lurch by oversubscribed and underfunded rehabilitation programs.

More to come …

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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  1. [...] partied last night, The Global Game writes about stories you won’t find elsewhere such as amputee soccer players in Liberia, the connection between Queen of the South football team and the bible, and remembering New [...]

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