SYDNEY : Socceroos winger Awer Mabil has been named 2023 Young Australian Of The Year for his charitable work in the East African refugee camps where he was born.
The 27-year-old, who was born to South Sudanese parents in a Kenyan refugee camp and moved to Australia at the age of 10, said he was honoured just to be nominated for the award.
"To be able to be named Young Australian of the Year gives me power to continue doing what I'm doing," he said in a video released by Football Australia.
"For me, I love to help people. I'm really motivated to build on from this."
His parents accepted the award from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Mabil's behalf as he is playing in Europe with Czech club Sparta Prague.
The "Barefoot to Boots" charity he co-founded with his brother Awer Bul initially donated football kit to children in East African refugee camps but has since expanded to providing medical equipment and sanitary products.
Mabil converted a penalty in a shootout triumph over Peru last June that took Australia to a fifth successive World Cup finals, where he played a part in his adopted country's run to the last 16.