'They gave me a chance at life' – Sudan refugee Mabil dedicates penalty to Australia

·2-min read

Awer Mabil has declared his crucial penalty in Australia's shoot-out victory against Peru was a "thank you" to the nation that took his family in after they fled Sudan.

The 26-year-old gave Australia the lead in sudden death with his side's sixth penalty, then watched on as Andrew Redmayne denied the South Americans as the Socceroos secured a spot in a fifth consecutive World Cup.

That will now signal a remarkable journey for Mabil from a Kenyan refugee camp to the showcase finals in Qatar later this year, and he dedicated his penalty to the nation that took in his family in 2006.

"I knew I was going to score. It was the only way to say thank you to Australia on behalf of my family," he said after Monday's match, which finished 0-0 after extra time.

"I was born in a hut, a little hut. My hotel room here is definitely bigger than the hut, the room we had as a family in that refugee camp.

"For Australia to take us in and resettle us, it gave me and my siblings and my whole family a chance at life.

"That's what I mean by thanking Australia for that chance of life, that chance of opportunity they allowed my family."

Mabil was born in a Kenyan refugee camp after his family fled conflict in Sudan, surviving on one meal a day as a child, but found a distraction in football and hopes his contribution can inspire other refugees.

"I scored, a lot of my team-mates scored, everybody played a part and maybe that refugee kid played a big part," he said.

Australia complete Group D for the World Cup alongside France, Denmark and Tunisia, with their opening game falling on November 22 against Didier Deschamps' defending champions.

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