Zahid Tashkhojayev has a routine. Before he heads out for training with his amputee football team, he watches the news to put him in the moment. With his mental batteries recharged, Tashkhojayev says, he can face the future.
Tashkhojayev is a goalkeeper for Uzbekistan’s premier amputee football team, Matonat — the Uzbek word for courage.
“When I lost an arm in an accident, I didn’t know what to do. I became depressed. I didn’t know what it would all end with, but one day a friend called me and told me that there was a football team just for the disabled. The attackers, midfields and defenders all have one leg. The goalkeepers have no arms,” Tashkhojayev told EurasiaNet.org.
The amputee version of the game is in most respects identical to the regular variant. The field and goal are smaller, and the periods of play are shorter given the degree of physical effort required, but the levels of commitment and aggression are, if anything, often higher.
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