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Home MIDDLE EAST Talented Indonesian footballer inspires at 2022 Amputee World Cup

Talented Indonesian footballer inspires at 2022 Amputee World Cup

“Football changed my life.”

It is not rare to hear that refrain, very often from players who have overcome adversity to make a living out of the sport.

For Indonesia’s Ajis Pirmansyah it is particularly poignant. It is the beautiful game that had a transformative effect on his life after a freak accident saw him lose a leg, and caused him to slump into a depressive state for several months.

Amputee football is a volunteer-led sport in which players are either born with a limb difference or have undergone an amputation. Their stories are inspiring, and the players showcase how their determination in life is replicated on the pitch when representing their countries at a World Cup.

The sport is growing in popularity across the world, promoting pride and self-confidence in those with these challenges.

Established in March 2018, the FIFA Foundation has been promoting social inclusion through football, including activities in the area of amputee football, as well as numerous grassroots initiatives that drive social development in underprivileged communities around the world, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

While participation in amputee football may be growing in certain countries, many people are still unaware of the sport’s existence, making it a challenge for teams to secure funding and investments to continue growing or scout for new players.

However, through the use of short-form videos and social media platforms in recent times, amputee football has been able to find new audiences and realize unique opportunities for engagement with the sport.

Viewers have been drawn to the motivational and emotional aspects of the game played by these people with disabilities, which have helped drive support and recognition across the globe.

Pirmansyah, an amputee who plays for the National Indonesian Football Team, or the Garuda INAF national team, and hails from the Sumedang Regency, has made a name for himself on the social media platform Likee under the moniker Jissjoss11.

After having his leg amputated, he rediscovered his passion for football, and started filming short videos to showcase his talents and share his knowledge of amputee football with viewers in a creative and engaging way.

Pirmansyah started playing the game at a young age, but suffered a serious injury when he collided with a goalpost in 2015. The accident caused considerable swelling in his foot for a long time, and he was subsequently diagnosed with having a tumor. Despite undergoing treatment, he was advised to have his leg amputated.

“After the amputation, Ajis went through a difficult time, where he had to undergo a period of physical and psychological healing,” said his father, Pipit Ibunda. “During this period, he didn’t socialize with others too much and it was only after seven months of being encouraged by his friends and family around him that Ajis got up and wanted to return to his normal activities.”

Pirmansyah was determined to play football again, and after being introduced to the world of amputee football, made his way through the ranks to represent his country on the left wing.

His journey of recovery reached new heights when he recently took part in the 2022 Amputee Football World Cup that was held in Turkey from Sept. 30 to Oct. 9.

Regional qualifications were held to trim the 48 initial entrants to the 24 teams that traveled to Turkey.

The World Cup was particularly memorable for Pirmansyah and his colleagues as it marked Indonesia’s first-ever participation at this level.

Indonesia were placed in a tough group with Argentina, the US and England, and although they would finish fourth in the standings, their performances prompted a message of praise and thanks from the country’s president Joko Widodo.

Hosts Turkey emerged triumphant with a 4-1 victory over defending champions Angola at Galatasaray’s Nef Stadium.

But the impact of the 2022 Amputee World Cup goes far beyond medals and trophies.

Thanks to the inspiring stories of Pirmansyah, and many others, amputee football is helping reduce the stigma associated with disability and is transforming attitudes in Indonesia and around the world.

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