A great moment halfway through day 1 of the KDB Cup 2023: at noon, the Red Flamingos, our national amputation football team, played a true 'Derby of the Low Countries' against the Netherlands. The performance of both teams commanded much admiration from the numerous crowd that turned up. "2023 should be the breakthrough year for ampufoot, with our participation in the very first Nations League in October," said board member Wendy De Cock. At the same time, the G-teams from Kortrijk and Sint-Amandsberg also played each other.
Some employees of an orthopaedic company founded the non-profit association Amp Football Belgium in 2013. The noble goal: the social integration of amputees by letting them play football together on a regular basis. Last year, the non-profit organisation organised open training sessions throughout Flanders. That paid off too: recently there have been weekly training sessions in East and West Flanders, Antwerp and Brussels. In 2016, the 'Red Flamingos' were recognised as a national team by the Belgian Football Federation. Which has since played two European Championships, as proud ambassadors of Belgian Amputation Football.
Wendy De Cock, board member of the non-profit association, is particularly happy that the Red Flamingos are allowed to play at the KDB Cup: "It's great that we get the chance to play in front of so many people. Few football fans know the Red Flamingos, which will be different afterwards. Anyway, 2023 should be the breakthrough year for ampufoot. Since April, we have had Pro League clubs in Antwerp and Bruges. As soon as a third club is added we may start a league ... AND we may enter Europe."
The Netherlands eventually proved a size too big, winning 0-7. But that defeat is no surprise. "We are in the middle of a growth process. The Netherlands have been playing for about ten years, their players are used to each other. With us, the automaticity is still missing. You learn a lot from matches like this. Moving without the ball, thinking ahead and faster passing. We are working hard. It will be fine."
Nations League 2023 in our country
The Red Flamingos will also play the first-ever Nations League in the autumn. Amp Football Belgium managed to get the games from Pool C to our country. "We will play against Greece, Ukraine, Georgia and Israel in early October in Blankenberge," Wendy says. "Our ambitions are modest but clear: we want to maintain ourselves in the C division."
More than football
Amputation football is about more than just football. "Above all, it is about a group of friends who have fun and enjoy themselves together - a group where everyone is equal: young, old, orientation, origin... Moreover, everyone can talk freely with others about life's challenges. For some, this is the 'boost' they need to participate fully in society again. In short: one big clean family!"
All info can be found at https://www.ampfootballbelgium.com/