Levelling the football field with amputees

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London Amps F.C
London Amps Football Club. Photo: Shisir Limbu

The first amputee football club in Islington, who train weekly in Archway and play under the Middlesex county and EAFA national league share their thoughts on the boundaries in football.

Players of London Amps football club state the playing field in football should be leveled as they prepare for the Amputee World Cup selection.

With the likes of Johnny Peacock breaking the Paralympics 100m World record and Oscar Pistorius taking part in able-bodied competitions, the question to this happening in football has been a hot topic.  James Catchpole, 33, left back for the London Amps F.C had his leg amputated at the age of 18 weeks due to a disease known as cavernous haemangioma. He described a professional game of amputee football as being “Fast, hard and supremely well organised” and that “the guys who normally walk on prostheses aren’t actually at a disadvantage”.

Mr Catchpole is passionate about the sport he plays and mentions that, “if football’s the game of the ghetto, amputee football is the game of the war zone and the refugee camp”. The amputee defender described the sport being similar to regular football, only this time with clutches: “It is a seven-a-side game on good AstroTurf, where everyone’s on crutches and we can run and turn and skip and spin and crunch into each other and go flying, sticks and all, to our hearts’ content. All well and good,” he said.

What started off from the aftermath of civil wars, earthquakes and landmines now involves players form 25 countries taking part in its World Cup event. To date the Amputee Football World Cup has been held in five different continents. However, the sport only got its recognition in the past two years in England. The EAFA (England Amputee Football Association) that was set up in 2009, now runs four regional teams in a national league and also looks into the Great Britain’s development center and Olympic squad for the amputee football team.

Another person who also believed in levelling the football field was Michael Ishiguzo. The 34 year old played football professionally in Lagos for Stationary Stores F.C. during one of the games of the 1997/98 season, he broke his shin which was badly treated so it caught an infection known as gangrene.

“They had to cut of the part that was infected in order to save my life”, said the ex professional who’s now a dedicated amputee footballer. Mr Ishiguzo like James Catchpole and other amputee footballers saw no boundaries in football. His ambitions to level the football field came with experience he gained with regular footballers at his local parks: “I kept begging to play until one got angry and said I had just five minutes…I finished the session with the same guys asking me if I will come and play with them the following week, that has been my proudest moment as an amputee footballer”.

For more information on amputee football visit: http://www.worldamputeefootball.com

For further information contact: london@theeafa.co.uk

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