Eman Sulaeman was born without no feet and has only one full leg, but the 30-year-old Indonesian soccer player has become a top goalie.
Sulaeman told the AFP how he wanted to pay soccer as a boy:
I cried for days, begging them (my parents) to buy me a ball. They relented and went out to find me a cheap plastic ball.
I spent a long time learning to walk in balance before I was able to kick the ball.
Sulaeman’s joined a local soccer team as he completed an electronic engineering degree.
[Soccer] for me is just like my wife. My girlfriend is even jealous of it because I love it too much.
At my first tournament, the other team’s manager doubted me and asked if I really could play.
Sulaeman said he has never considered wearing prosthetic legs:
I don’t even like wearing shoes. The only time I wore shoes was for a match in Scotland.
Sulaeman joined the Indonesian team at the Homeless World Cup in Glasgow in 2016:
It was unreal. My first time ever being abroad and I was named the best goalie. The crowds and even all the organising committee members clapped for me. I was really touched.
The British media praised Sulaeman for his “cat-like reflexes,” but he is more interested in inspiring others:
People with disabilities like me and poor people can all unite without being looked down upon or stigmatised.
West Java’s sports agency spokesman Dani Ramdan told the AFP:
We’ve recently learned that our disabled athletes have extraordinary skills and they have opened our eyes that if they’re given equal opportunities, they can achieve anything,
Sulaeman said he hopes to compete in the Paralympic Games one day:
We must stay confident and motivated to bring out the potential in ourselves. Although we (disabled people) have limitations, within those limitations there are extraordinary things.