World Goes Nuts For Former Refugee Awer Mabil Who Scores On Socceroos Debut
Remember the name Awer Mabil. Maybe one day, it'll be as well-known as Tim Cahill.
The Socceroos beat Kuwait 4-0 in a friendly match overnight, in the first match of new coach Graham Arnold's reign.
But the really big story surrounded a 23-year-old Australian -- who started his professional career in the A-League, before plying his trade in both Denmark and Portugal -- who was stepping out in Australian colours for the first time.
As mentioned, his name is Awer Mabil, and his first goal for his adopted nation was an absolute cracker.
You'll recall, perhaps, that Australia's only two goals in this year's FIFA World Cup came from the penalty spot, meaning that we were the only one of the 32 nations who failed to score from open play.
Our World Cup campaign could have used the precise, assured finishing which Mabil showed in scoring this match-sealing goal in the 88th minute.
The story of this young South Sudan-born player is remarkable. He grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya after his family fled their war-torn homeland. It was in the camp that he learned his football skills. No coaches, no fields. Just a kid and a ball and a passion for the game.
Football's global governing body FIFA didn't miss the significance of the moment either, celebrating it on social media despite a heavy schedule of international friendlies and other fixtures involving better-credentialled players and nations.
Nor did many Australians miss the wider of the context of Mabil's great start, given some of the recent negative stories about South Sudanese immigrants.
And the moment when Mabil celebrated his fantastic Socceroos debut with Thomas Deng, a fellow Kenya-born player South Sudanese origin? Priceless.
For a full wrap of the match go here.