Nazih Saab

Lebanon Landmine Survivor FC player profile: Nazih Saab

To mark Mine Awareness Day on 4 April of this year, Find A Better Way became the shirt sponsors of Lebanon Landmine Survivors FC, a team administered by our partners the Lebanon Welfare Association for the Handicapped (LWAH).

Blog Nazih Saab 2Today we continue our series of inspirational life stories of the players with striker Nazih Saab, 50, a retired member of the Lebanese armed forces who lost his leg saving two children who had wandered into a minefield he was working nearby.

Here is Nazih’s story in his own words:

During my veteran years as a Lebanese Army member, and while in duty back in 1991, I was at my guard point when I noticed two little children entering a landmine marked zone while playing around. I got really scared for them and had to do everything to keep them safe. I followed them in. At that point I did not think whether or not I am endangering myself, as I had to save them. And I did, they were safe, but before I could step out myself, there was a landmine explosion and I lost my right leg instantly, and my left leg was injured. I felt disrespect more so than I did feel pain. I felt my military uniform was to shield me from all harm, but that landmine disrespected it. That is how I felt right there and then.

After that I greatly suffered between hospitals and surgeries, in a long 4 month stay, during which I was gradually losing my mind. There was not much education, and no one was telling me I could lead a normal life. That I could have a prosthetic fitting and I will be able to thrive and live.

After the prosthetic fitting, I stayed in my job which helped me overcome some of the depression that was eating at me. But it was not before a while that I heard of the sports program at LWAH, and how I wish I had found out about it sooner, as it was the turning point in my life. I play wherever our coach asks me to play, especially in front rows, and I always put my whole heart to it as I do in everything since the day of the blast. I live every minute to the full and enjoy every moment. Football keeps me fit and I know I do more than many people my age.

I am now retired but I attend training workshops, through LWAH, to start my own small business.

Today, I don’t regret one bit entering that mine field to save these two children. I look at my kids and I know I did the right thing. It was my pledge as a military man to protect my country and countrymen. And that is exactly what I did. Today I am a dad of four. The incident seems too far. I am more accomplished and I belong, in addition to my blood family, to the LWAH landmine survivors team that is my second family. I love every other member as my brother. My children come very often to watch me play and they are the proudest kids. They are proud I am a winner at life and in football.

Note: Nazih’s prosthetic leg features the Lebanese flag, it is as such to mark his bravery on a day he now remembers with pride.