This war amputees' football (soccer) team was established in February 2001 and is made up of 22 players, all residents of Murray Town camp for amputees in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Most of the players were amputated by roaming rebels with machetes and handsaws. Their powerful football skills have transformed them into true athletes. This photograph shows a player kicking the ball during a game in 2002.
Football players from Murray's Dream Team
Football players from Murray's Dream Team are shown here training on the beach. Murray's Dream Team is a football team entirely made up of players with one leg. The amputee team members are residents of the Murray Town amputees' camp, which is home to victims of rebel atrocities committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone.
Celebrating a Goal
A football player from Murray's Dream Team is seen here celebrating a goal scored during a match being held to mark the team's commemoration day.
Tamba Ngaujah was the first amputee of the war in Sierra Leone, which featured brutal amputations of civilians by all three fighting forces. Rebels from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) captured Ngaujah on November 21, 1992, and cut off both of his hands. He has chosen to forgive the perpetrators because he believes that taking revenge would lead to generational conflict.
One of Ngaujah’s sons wraps his father’s arms with the white bandages that he wears when he goes out in public. His wife makes sure that his navy blue suit is always clean and carefully pressed.
A Rare Drink
Ngaujah takes a break at a local restaurant, where he often rests during the day to escape from the heat on the streets. Usually he does not eat or drink during the day, saving the money he receives for his family. The only reason he is having a drink on this day is because a visitor bought it for him.
What has been done, has been done
Ngaujah stands on the hillside above Freetown, where he has been able to build a house of zinc metal on a small piece of land given to him by the government. He does not plan to return to Kono, the district where he was born and grew up (and where he was captured by rebels), because he believes that there are better opportunities for him and his family in Freetown, the nation’s capital. “What has been done, has been done,” he says. “Nothing will bring back my hands . . . When I was amputated, during the three days after that [when] I was wandering in the bush, I was asking God to take my life. But God has a plan. At this time in my life, I think God has a plan.”