Mory shows his strength
THIS is a story that is sure to warm your heart – a story which proves sport really can heal the soul.
Bangalow Bluedogs under-15 soccer player Mory Kone has all the skills you could wish for.
Mory won the best player of his under-15 division at last week's Kanga Cup in Canberra.
It's the biggest junior soccer tournament in the southern hemisphere.
Mory can kick a ball so hard that he breaks his own backyard goalposts. He is also lightning fast, but best of all is Mory's mental strength.
He arrived in Bangalow as a five-year-old to live with his aunty Bintou who married Goonellabah-raised Jason Burns.
This was after Mory lost his father in the brutal civil war of 2002 in his native Odienne on the Ivory Coast.
“I'm lucky to be out here,” the quietly spoken Mory said. “It's hard (back in the Ivory Coast). There are no fields to play on, just dirt pitches.”
According to his uncle Jason, Mory has come a long way since moving to Australia.
“He just lived on the street in the Ivory Coast and ran wild,” Mr Burns said. “He never went to school, just played soccer all day. It was hard just to talk to him when he first came out here but now everyone, his teammates and schoolmates, they all love him.
“In his last year of primary school at Byron Bay he had no shoes but someone gave him a pair for a running race. He went on to break the school record.”
Now Mory has every opportunity to make a career out of soccer, he is doing everything he can to realise his dream.
“Mory said to me he wants to play for Real Madrid,” Bluedogs under-15 coach Jim Gelagotis said. “Mory has the talent to go far if he applies himself, and with my knowledge I can get him there.”
Gelagotis holds the key for Mory and his dreams to play at the very top.
The shrewd mentor is well-connected in soccer circles.
Gelagotis played for an Ajax youth development team under Johan Cruyff in Holland and also at former NSL club South Melbourne under former Australian coach Frank Arok.
“There are a few avenues I know that I'm looking at for Mory,” Gelagotis said.
“Mory is quick, exceptionally fast with the ball and knows where to position himself on the field.
“He's played a couple of games in Football Far North Coast second division already and he stands out at that level.
“From my (under-15 Bluedogs) team, Mory is the kid that works the hardest at home.”