Friday, November 09, 2007

UN bails out SLeone amputees soccer team for World Cup tour

FREETOWN (AFP) - The UN has bailed out Sierra Leone's national amputees football team with a cash boost which paves way for its participation in the world cup tournament kicking off at the weekend in Turkey.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) office in the west African country, the world's second most impoverished, said it had committed to pay for the costs of the team's trip to Antalya, where the competition begins in five days.

It said the 21,000 dollars (14,000 euros) it was giving "is part of an undertaking to commit awareness raising on peace building through amputee soccer".

Team secretary Kemoh Sheriff said the donation showed that "we are not forgotten but are part and parcel of the developmental structure of Sierra Leone".

The team of single-legged players consists of victims of a brutal decade-long civil war in which 120,000 people were killed and thousands others lost limbs to hacking by rebels.

Created after the war in 2001, it has taken part in international matches in Russia, England and in Brazil where it came third in 2005 behind the latter two.

The tournament in Turkey runs from November 11 through 21, where 13 nations -- Brazil, England, France, Ghana, Iran, Liberia, Moldovia, Nigeria, Russia, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan -- will take part, according to the World Amputee Football website.

UNDP said an estimated 600 million persons have disabilities worldwide and they globally constitute over 20 percent of those living in poverty.

UN bails out SLeone amputees soccer team for World Cup tour - Yahoo! News