By Agueda Gomes
Crutches Football, as known as Amputee Football, has been introduced to African countries for no more than two decades. Crutches Football is an adapted sport mainly for those individuals who lost the functionality of one lower limb that frequently is due to amputation, polio, or another health issue. In fact, the game was first developed by accident by Don Bennett, who is originally from the United States and lost his right leg in an accident. Crutches Football has not yet been considered a Paralympic sport like football 5-a-side for individuals with visual impairment and 7-a-side for individuals with cerebral palsy. The sport organizations in Africa has been working to develop this sport because the types of disabilities (i.e., amputee) that is most frequent due to the consequences of poverty and civil wars that most African countries face. In addition, culturally football is the most popular sport that attracts most of the young males in Africa. The first international participation of Africa was in 2005 World CUP in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by the Sierra Leone’s National Crutches Football team who earned 5th place. The first African Crutches Football tournament was organized in Freetown, Sierra Leone. During this tournament the Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone earned the three first places, respectively.
Over the past ten years, many African countries have organized Crutches Football teams, such as Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda, Morocco, and Ivory Coast. Most recently in October 2019, Angola host African CUP for Crutches Football and became an African Champion by winning Nigeria by 2 – 0. The competition was hosted in the province of Benguela that participated in six African teams: Angola, Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Cameroon. Angola has been leading Crutches Football in Africa since 2014. The Angolan National Crutches Football team won the silver medal in 2014 Amputee Football World CUP by losing the title against Russia. In addition, Angola became the 2018 World Champion by defeating Turkey’s National Crutches Football team with the final score of 5 – 4 in Mexico City, Mexico. These victories have brought hope in many young individuals with disabilities throughout the African continent that sports can change their lives for better through the recognition of their dedication and hard work and become a role model for society.
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African Paralympic Committee
Angola Paralympic Committee