A football game to raise mine awareness, 16 May 2012

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23 Aug 2012

A football game to raise mine awareness, 16 May 2012

It was a friendly gathering to celebrate courage, determination, and to raise awareness in honor of mine victims.

On Wednesday, 16 May UNIFIL Civil Affairs in collaboration with the Lebanese Welfare Association for the Handicapped (LWAH) and Lebanese Mine Action Center (LMAC) organized a football match to raise awareness on the continuing problem of land mines in Lebanon and to draw attention to the suffering of landmine victims.

The football match took place at the UNIFIL base of ROKBATT (Korean Contingent) between a team comprising of land mine survivors (that belong to the LWAH) vs. a team of UNIFIL personnel. Present at the event was Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Patrick Phelan, Head of Tyr municipality Abdel Mouhssin Husseini, First Lieutenant Patrick Shoufany representing LMAC, the Manager of the LWAH Handicapped Rehabilitation Centre at Sarafand Dr. Maha Shouman Jbaei, Representatives of the National Committee of Mine Victim Assistance and Mine Risk Education, local authorities as well as representatives from various international organizations.

This event was an opportunity to raise awareness about the continuing problem of land mines in Lebanon, draw attention to the suffering of landmine victims and at the same time it was an occasion to enjoy a football match.

UNIFIL Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Patrick Phelan noted that Lebanon is still suffering from remnants of war and acknowledged the bravery of all de-miners, lauding the mine awareness efforts.

The Manager of the LWAH Handicapped Rehabilitation Centre at Sarafand, Dr. Maha Shouman Jbaei extended her utter gratitude to UNIFIL and the South Korean battalion for their initiative and she added: "Only through hope and determination we can make change."

LWAH team captain Adnan Abdallah considered this football game another example of our positive coexistence with UNIFIL peacekeepers. Abdallah said that, as a mine victim, our life hasn't stopped when we got injured; on the contrary we had to pull ourselves together and prove to the world that we are still very much alive. Abdallah also added: "Someone cares for this cause, and we hope the work will continue to further clear the South from unexploded ordnances and mines. And of course today we shall do our best to win the game".

The opponent team, "UNIFIL", was just as ready for the game, knowing that they were facing a very good group of players. The captain of the football team, Manolo was very excited for the game: "it is a very inspiring and entertaining activity. This football match is very important for us because it is part of the mine awareness campaign. In addition our "opponents" are very motivated and I think it will be a very tough game for us to win"."
The coins were tossed declaring the start of the game, LWAH in red T-shirts vs. UNIFIL's green. Both teams were eager to score, and in the first ten minutes of the first half all attempts went in vain.

LWAH's goal keeper managed to save his net from successive serious attempts from the Green team. And amidst the first half, LWAH scored a goal in UNIFIL's net; seconds later UNIFIL retaliated scoring their first goal. Then in full speed, LWAH scored again ending the first half with the score of 2-1.

UNIFIL team returned in the second half ready to prove its ability, and instantly scored in LWAH's net. Seconds later LWAH decided to settle the game with a final goal, and eventually winning 3-2. The audience cheered the winning team congratulating them on a job well done. The players were handed gifts and souvenir photos were taken.