AMPUTEE FOOTBALL: Gary helps England to major glory without conceding a goal
- Credit: Archant
Goalkeeper Gary Marheineke has joined a select band of footballers – by helping England to glory in a major tournament.
Marheineke was part of the national amputee team who enjoyed success in the big Amp Futbol Cup in Poland last weekend.
A 1-0 success over the host nation in the final ensured England lifted the trophy in their first tournament after previously playing under the Great Britain banner for more than a decade.
Marheineke went through the entire tournament without conceding a goal as England beat France 2-0 - a match in which he skippered the side - and Ireland 3-0 in the group stage.
They then blew away Japan by a 4-0 margin in the semi-final before a solitary strike settled the showpiece.
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Marheineke said: “It is always an amazing feeling to represent my country, but this is even more memorable due to the fact it was our first tournament as England.
“After the disappointment of being knocked out of the same tournament in the semi-finals last year when playing as Great Britain, we have spent a lot of time on the training ground.
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“We were confident we could go back and be even more competitive this year and it was terrific to lift the trophy.
“To keep four clean sheets and be named as goalkeeper of the tournament made it extra special.”
The England side will be chasing further success later in the year when they compete in the first-ever European Championships in amputee football. That event takes place in Turkey, in October.
Marheineke, who was born missing his lower right arm, was introduced to amputee football five years ago by Andy Coles, the football development officer for the Hunts FA.
The game is played in a 7-v-7 format with all outfield players being either leg amputees or having deficiencies which require them to use crutches.
Goalkeepers are either arm amputees, or have arm deficiencies. They are not allowed to make saves with their residual limb.
Marheineke, who is employed in a coaching position by the FA, is grateful for sponsorship from Mick George Ltd and Howdens Joinery towards the cost of representing England. He is still seeking further backing ahead of the European Championships and donations can be made through https://www.everyclick.com/poshamps