Haiti’s amputee footballers seek glory abroad, acceptance at home – AFP

“We won against the United States at the Copa America, and we also beat Germany, Italy and Russia,” coach Pierre Rochenel said.

“Since we need seven players for a game, and it’s on a smaller field, amputee football is very demanding technically.”

The team’s participation in the World Cup next month is the latest chapter in the rise of amputee football in Haiti, which accelerated in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that left 200,000 people dead. Of a further 300,000 people wounded, 4,000 were amputees.

Eight members of the Haiti team heading to Mexico are amputees resulting from the earthquake.

Haiti’s national amputee football association was launched to help motivate the wounded, many of whom became one-legged, as they faced harsh stigmatization in society.

“Here, people still hide at home their loved ones who are disabled,” said association president Ariel Valembrun, himself an arm amputee.

“But when they see the team out in the field, people can’t get over themselves. Everywhere we go, the public applauds and sees that what we are doing is good for the disabled community.”

Source: AFP

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