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This article was published 25/9/2017 (1305 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When Seidu Mohammed decided to leave the United States and head for Canada, all he wanted was to find a home country in which he could work, live a better life and maybe continue playing his favourite sport, soccer.
Mohammed, who now lives in Garden City, was recently named captain of WASPS FC, a first division Manitoba Major Soccer League team formed in the wake of the late Jean-Baptiste Ajua’s effort to get his friends from Rwanda into the MMSL.
"They are like a family club. We love each other, and we got each other’s back. We help each other. We are brothers and sisters in that club, and I like the way the club (is) doing," Mohammed said, adding he is proud to see the team strive this season.
Mohammed’s journey to playing soccer here in Canada has been incredibly difficult. The 25-year-old from Ghana met compatriot Razak Iyal in Minneapolis, Minn., who was also headed to Canada as a refugee. The two took a bus to Grand Forks, N.D., travelled north to the border and walked from the U.S. to Canada in the pitch dark of a cold Christmas Eve, spending seven hours in bitterly cold fields
"We never expected that we would do that kind of journey in the middle of the night, where we wouldn’t even see where we were and it was cold," the Wasps defender said.
"It was windy, and there was a lot of snow. It took us a lot of time before we could take another step. It was windy. My eyes froze, I couldn’t see anything, and I was just screaming. That’s when I started feeling my fingers were frozen, and I couldn’t move them. I had three jackets, gloves and a baseball cap but when the wind was blowing, it took my gloves and my cap."
"Anytime we (saw) a car we had to dive in the snow and hide because we were afraid."
Mohammed and Iyal both thought they might lose their lives,but they didn’t want to give up. Once they were in Canada, a passerby stopped and called 911.
After a few days in hospital, Seidu learned he would lose all of his fingers.
"I started crying," he said. "I was scared. How was I going to survive without fingers? How was I going to work without fingers? It was very difficult for me."
Seidu said he plans on becoming a professional soccer player and a soccer coach one day but he is at a crossroads. His doctors want to amputate four of his toes to give him two fingers on each hand but he hasn’t made a decision yet.
"I don’t want to lose my (toes) because I play soccer with (them) and I’ve played soccer all my life and I’m not ready to give up. But I’m here to work. All I want to do is start working and start contributing for this country because that’s what I came here to do, to follow the rules and regulations."
WASPS currently sit third in MMSL’s first division, with two games remaining in their season.
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti was the community journalist for The Times.