Handicapped Afghan refugee footballer Said Haseeb playing football in Khyber Agency. - Photo by Ayaz Raza

PESHAWAR, February 1: It has been rightly said that where there’s a will, there’s a way. The proverb fits well on Said Haseeb, who is deprived of his both hands, and still playing a difficult game like football to make his mark. Mr Haseeb, who is an Afghan refugee, is currently residing in Hayatabad area of Peshawar.

Our correspondent Mr Ayaz Raza has interviewed Mr Habib on his love for the game of soccer and difficulties he faced to pursue his passion.

Said Haseeb: I have been playing football for the last six years. Football is my passion. My family members often ask me to leave football but I have told them that it is my passion and I will continue playing football until I achieve something out of this game. I am participating in local tournaments along with my other friends and I am improving with each game.

TNN: Do you face any problems while playing football?

Said Haseeb: I am not facing any problems now. I was facing problems previously when I was injured, but now I am feeling and playing well. The incident happened with me four years ago when a boy asked me to help him in fetching back his kite stranded on a power line. My both hands were handicapped while bringing his kite from the power line.

TNN: What do you feel when you play football after that incident?

Said Haseeb: I am feeling well and I am quite happy. I am enjoying the company of my friends. Currently I am studying in class 8 and I have also completed Hifz of 25 Paras of the Holy Quran.

TNN: What are your plans for the future?

Said Haseeb: I will like to continue playing football along with my studies.

TNN: If you got livelihood from the game then will you like to be a professional footballer?

Said Haseeb: I have applied for playing in Olympics during my recent visit to Afghanistan. I have also passed a test there. They told me that they will send me to a tournament in India in February. I will go to India on February 29. I will play in Centre and Forward positions.

TNN: How many major tournaments have you played?

Said Haseeb: I have played at Qayyum Sports Stadium where I was selected for the refugees’ team. I also won cash prize and media gave me very good coverage. I have also played at Islamia College and Regi and now I am playing here.

TNN: Have you played in Afghanistan?

Said Haseeb: I have played very little in Afghanistan because our home is here in Pakistan. I will visit Afghanistan during the school vacations. Football ground is also very far away from my residence in Afghanistan. I am practicing regularly at Qayyum Stadium with a trainer. I train daily from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. He doesn’t charge any fee and tells me that they will pay me instead.

TNN: Did you get any treatment for your hands?

Said Haseeb: I have got treatment in Germany. My fingers were immovable previously. A friend of my father helped me a lot in Germany during my one-year stay. Now I am feeling a lot of improvement. Now I can write with my hands.

TNN: Do you have interest in other games?

Said Haseeb: I also play basketball sometimes.

TNN: Have you noticed any weakness within yourself?

Said Haseeb: I am now used to life with disability. I don’t feel any weakness.

TNN: What do you feel when people cheer you at the football ground?

Said Haseeb: I feel on top of the world after receiving applause from the crowd. It enhances my courage and determination to play even better.

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Translation by Mr Aamir Khan