South Sudanese Refugees Winning for Australia with Special Socceroos Debuts
Almost a decade ago, two boys named Thomas Deng and Awer Mabil started to bond with each other while living in the suburbs in the northern part of Adelaide. Both of these boys were refugees from South Sudan that had spent their early years in Kenya and moved to Australia because of the adversity in their home country.
Through the most unlikely of circumstances, these two young South Sudanese refugees have been able to etch out a wonderful new chapter in their lives. From the early childhood in Kenya to the shared suburban life in northern Adelaide, to the A League and now in Kuwait, of all places, they have made their debuts together for the Australian national football team.
Thomas Deng and Awer Mabil were both handed their first match appearance for the Australian national side aka the Socceroos by Graham Arnold as the Australian side obliterated Kuwait by four goals to none.
As if getting to debut for the country was not good enough, Awer Mabil even went on to score for the Socceroos by netting their fourth goal off of a wonderful attacking move started off by Thomas Deng. It was a tough match and a big night for the Australian side but even more so for the former South Sudanese refugees. The pair of them simply could not stop smiling after the match was over despite the fact that they were both very tired and the game was played in unseasonably humid climate.
Awer Mabil and Thomas Deng have really exemplified the persistence of the South Sudanese people and how they are able to rise through adversity by making their presence known on the international level of football with their debut for the Socceroos.
Mabil and Deng both came from Kenya. Mabil was born in the refugee camps in Kenya while Deng spent his early years in Nairobi before their families moved and settled in Southern Australia.
By: Senior Editor
Athoi D Monyjok