The winger said the all-important penalty that put Australia back on level terms with Peru was a thank you to the country for taking him and his family in.
Awer Bul Mabil (born 15 September 1995) is an Australian professional footballer who plays as a winger for Kasımpaşa, on loan from FC Midtjylland and the Australia national soccer team.
Mabil played youth soccer at the South Australian National Training Centre and with Adelaide United. He made his senior debut for Campbelltown City, before making his debut in the A-League for Adelaide United in 2013.
Mabil was born to South Sudanese parents in Kakuma, located in northwestern Kenya. He and his family lived in the Kakuma Refugee Camp until 2006 when they moved to Australia. He began playing soccer at the camp at around the age of 5, stating: “We would just go outside and start kicking around. It was not structured and there was little else to do.”
Socceroo Awer Mabil says his penalty which helped Australia to a spot in the World Cup finals in Qatar was a thank you to the country for taking in him and his family.
Awer Mabil found the net from 12 yards to bring Australia level with Peru in the shoot-out, with goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne making a save in sudden death for the win on Tuesday morning.
The Socceroos will face France, Denmark and Tunisia in the group stage of the tournament, which starts in November.
“My hotel room here is bigger than the room we had as a family back in the refugee camp. For Australia to take us in and resettle us, it gave me and my family a chance of life,” 26-year-old Mabil told reporters from Qatar.
“I knew I was going to score. It was the only way to say thank you to Australia, from me and my family.”
“So that’s on behalf of my family just to say thank you to the whole of Australia.”
Mabil said he had arrived in Australia as a child just in time to see the ‘Golden Generation’ of Socceroos, which included Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell, play at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Redmayne has been hailed the “hero” of the match after coming into the game moments before full time in place of captain Maty Ryan and saving Peru’s sixth penalty to secure Australia’s win.
It’s the fifth time in a row Australia will be at the World Cup finals.