By Abdi Ali
Published September 13, 2015
Only fast-running, energetic, able-bodied dribblers play football, right?
THE FLYING STARS, a documentary about a captain of a football team of amputees in Sierra Leone, the West African country that is home to one in five of the world’s amputees as a result of an 11-year civil war (1991-2002), premieres on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 22.30 GMT on Witness, Al Jazeera’s observational documentary strand, with repeats on September 14, 2015 at 09.30 GMT, September15, 2015 at 03.30 GMT, September 16, 2015 at 16.30 GMT and September 17, 2015 at 05.30 GMT.
The documentary is about Bornor Kargbo, captain of The Flying Stars football team in the country’s capital, Freetown, who lost his leg during the socio-political unrest.
“When I started training, people would say, ‘Oh, this guy has one leg. How can he play football?’ But I did not listen to anybody,” Al Jazeera Africa publicists Kevin Kriedemann and Joy Sapieka quote Bornor, whom they say taught himself to play on crutches and has since competed in three amputee World Cups on three continents.
The Flying Stars is a complex character study of a remarkable man who is both inspiring and haunted, of an ageing sports star with a family to provide for, who must face up to a future where soccer will be a passion, not a career.
Winner of the Telefilm Canada Pitch This! Competition, The Flying Stars is co-directed by Allan Tong and Ngardy Conteh George.