Amputee football teams in Ecuador set the stage ahead of FIFA!
As the world gets set to celebrate the FIFA Magic, amputee soccer players gathered in Ecuador to show their moves! These were players who were competing using crutches. Many others were missing arms.
The action was seen in Ecuador's recently held second soccer tournament for amputees. While Ecuador did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup that starts soon in Russia, there was plenty of enthusiasm evident.
Six teams made up of 72 players in all, took part in the tournament. Two of the players were women. The tournament was won by a team from Quito called Android.
Among the players was Jhonatan, a 30-year-old who lost his leg in a traffic accident. When Jhonatan started playing a year ago, there were few players so each team fielded just seven players at a time.
Soccer for amputees was started in the early 1980s by Don Bennett, an active sportsman from the United States, who lost a leg in a boating accident. The game is now played in 40 countries.
The amputee version in Ecuador has gotten a big boost from the country's president, Lenin Moreno, who is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair.
The 15th World Amputee Football Federation's World Cup is being held later this year in Guadalajara, Mexico.