Two years ago today, Awer Mabil and Thomas Deng made history together as they debuted for their country – with Awer scoring a goal.
The duo recently reflected on the moment, with Awer recalling: “We were sitting next to each other on the bus (on the way to the game) and I said to Thomas ‘tonight we will probably make history if we come on’.
“That history is a history for the youngsters and especially the African community — we opened that gate for them.
“We have probably inspired someone young who is going to become better than us.
“We painted this way so they can go on and paint a different road.”
Deng added: “It also shows the African community that it’s not impossible to be where we are.
“As long as you work hard and you dedicate yourself, the opportunity is always there to be given.
“I am thankful to Arnie; it was a surreal moment that I will never forget.”
Awer scoring and Deng being there to celebrate with him was an iconic moment and something that the pair are very proud of, but it was no surprise for Deng, who predicted that Mabil would score.
He added: “I remember before you came on, I was saying that you were going to score.
“For us to both come onto the field, it was like a flashback of us playing together in the park.
“It felt like it was just another game.”
Both Deng and Mabil found themselves in Australia after their families sought refuge from the conflict in Sudan and they hope their stories will inspire future generations.