Smiling winger ready to get down to serious business in the UAE

Livewire forward Awer Mabil has announced himself to Socceroos fans in recent months with some electrifying performances, as well as two goals in his four international appearances so far. 

As the 23-year-old looks forward to Australia’s opening match of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ against Jordan on Sunday, 6 January (10pm AEDT) one thing is for certain: he will enjoy the experience with a beaming smile on his face, while working hard for his team.

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PREVIEW: What to expect from Australia v Jordan on Sunday 6 January

“My personality is always to enjoy - enjoy life and also to enjoy myself on the field,” says the player who capped a fine performance by scoring his second international goal in last weekend’s 5-0 victory over Oman. 

“And I feel like I have that role now to make young kids or people who come to watch enjoy the game, and also win. If you can win and make it fun, it’s best for the fans. 

“Growing up I was a big fan going to games and watching people play. When I see someone doing something entertaining I want to come back.”

Team spirit

Mabil, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp to South Sudanese parents, has settled well with the Socceroos and insists the success of the team comes ahead of everything else. 

“My job is easy - it is to make goals and assists,” he said. “It is probably the best job, but we must not forget the other part, which is being part of a team. So we have to work as a collective and then the goals will come, it doesn’t matter who scores them.” 

Alongside fellow African-Australian Thomas Deng - who supplied the assist for Mabil’s first Socceroos goal, against Kuwait in October 2018 - Mabil is keen to act as a role model for other young people following in his footsteps. 

Awer Mabil discusses his call-up to the Socceroos' training camp in September 2018

“A lot of people focus on the negatives which doesn't cover everything. There’s two sides to the story, you can't just generalise people on just one thing or a few individuals,” he said.

“So it was really nice to open doors for African-Australians, to show them that you can do something with your life and if you want your dreams you just have to work hard.

“Football has given me everything. The best part is that I can express myself. When I play football I don’t think of anything else but just to have fun and enjoy.”