Aussie Awer eligible for national honours

A fortnight ago Awer Mabil was dancing in the corner of Coopers Stadium before being embraced by his teammates. He had just scored an injury-time goal...

A fortnight ago Awer Mabil was dancing in the corner of Coopers Stadium before being embraced by his teammates. He had just scored an injury-time goal to put an exclamation point on Adelaide United-s dominant win over Wellington.

Today he had good reason to be dancing again with confirmation he had received an international clearance to represent Australia. For the 18-year-old midfielder of Kenyan decent the news was met with great elation and he is proud to now officially be able to represent his nominated homeland.

“I was buzzing when I heard the news,” said Mabil. “It-s hard to describe the feeling.

“It-s like the feeling you get when you score a goal but it hasn-t left me.

“I-ve obviously wanted to play for Australia since I-ve come here so I-m really proud and thankful to everyone who has made this happen.”

Having been born to Sudanese parents in Kenya, Mabil spent his childhood in a refugee camp and in 2006 at the age of 11, Mabil and his family were granted visas to seek asylum in Australia. Having been inspired by the Socceroos performance at the World Cup in Germany that year he began playing football.

Mabil-s dynamic acceleration and agility were apparent from an early age and he experienced an exponential rise to State football in South Australia before being signed by Adelaide United in 2012.

He spent the majority of last season playing in the National Youth League and capped a stunning season by being named player of the year, while also making his A-League debut.

This campaign Mabil has made 17 appearances for the Reds, netting twice against the Phoenix. The livewire midfielder is loving his football and the opportunity he-s been given.

“The new system we-ve been playing this season is amazing and to be included in the squad has been a big thrill.

“I really appreciate being given the opportunity and just try my best to help the team every week.”

Despite his newly announced status Mabil is not getting ahead of himself in terms of where his football journey may take him next.

“I just want to keep working hard and doing well for my club,” he said. I want to represent Australia at the U/20 World Cup next year but it doesn-t work like that.

“Hopefully if I do well for my club I can earn my spot.”

Mabil, who lives in Adelaide with his mother, three brothers and sister, is hopeful he will be able to share another high with his family and teammates this year.

“As a team we are just focused on playing our football,” he said. “Everyone wants to be in the finals but we-ve just got to continue to play our football and we-re confident we-ll be there.

Having spent endless hours travelling to and from training using public transport Mabil drew great satisfaction from the progress he has made with his football but remains modest of his achievements.

“I just want to do my best and do my family proud,” he said.

“I call this place my home and it-s a privilege.”