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Disabled Myanmar teen football champ defies the odds

Yangon: Football-obsessed Union of Burma adolescent Kaung Khant designer roots for Manchester United, worships star Lionel Messi and was worthy because of the best player in an exceedingly recent tournament.

But the 16-year-old with expertise navigates the pitch with only 1 leg and a crutch, the sole disabled player on his team.

"Whenever I play soccer, I chuck my legs and that I play as a standard person," he tells AFP when celebrating his goal with teammates.

On sandy ground within the outskirts of a national capital, he dribbles a ball with unbelievable nimbleness, pivoting with expertise on the crutch before shooting to get along with his left foot.

Kaung Khant designer was born with a stump for a right leg that these days protrudes from his soccer shorts.

He remembers 1st kicking a ball around the streets once he was 5, keeping his balance on a picket crutch crafted by his uncle.

Now he sees himself as pretty versatile on the pitch and does not even see his incapacity as his main weakness.

"Nobody will get past Maine. however, it´s onerous on behalf of me to defend against free kicks as I´m short."

Nearly one in fifty folks in Union of Burma has some style of walking incapacity, in keeping with the country´s latest census in 2014.

Unlike Kaung Khant designer, several square measure survivors of landmines planted within the conflicts plaguing the country´s restive borderlands.

People with disabilities face Brobdingnagian discrimination and eighty-five % square measure idle, says skinny Htet, program manager at Shwe Minn Tha Foundation (Myanmar), that champions the minority´s rights.

"Most folks suppose that those with disabilities cannot work," she says.


Kaung Khant designer has thus far defied the percentages, even rising to native fame in an exceeding soccer tournament on a legal holiday, a public vacation in January once communities contend in team games.

His 2 goals helped propel his aspect to success and additionally tight his award of "Player of the Tournament".

Teammate Moe Sat Han, 14, explains however they wont to worry concerning their friend´s leg obtaining broken however there was no manner they might stop him enjoying.

They usually play the complete day from morning till night, even forgetting to eat, and that´s once "his begetter offers him an enormous telling off," Moe Sat Han confides.

Kaung Khant Lin´s father, a 41-year-old painter and decorator, admits he cannot even bring himself to look at his son play.

"I don´t need to examine him get separated before of Maine," Soe Min Htun says, adding he simply desires his son to travel to college to urge associate education.

Kaung Khant designer is functioning onerous at college within the hope of finding out applied science -- though he dreams of changing into a handler in some unspecified time in the future.

In the meanwhile, however, he can keep making an attempt to emulate his hero, Argentine and port legend Lionel Messi.

"He´s left-handed and that I am too," he says. "I practise free kicks rather like he will."


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