Mabil explains heart-warming reason behind new goal celebration
Socceroos winger Awer Mabil has revealed the goal celebration seen after his splendid strike in the win over Syria is a touching tribute to people coping with mental health problems.
The rising star notched his second AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ goal in as many matches when he brilliantly curled in the opener during the entertaining 3-2 victory which confirmed Australia's place in the next phase of the tournament.
Mabil celebrated by placing a hand over his mouth and pointing to his forehead, just as he had done after notching in the 3-0 defeat of Palestine.
Speaking after the match to Fox Sports, the 23-year-old – a co-founder of the Barefoot to Boots charity dedicated to supporting refugees – explained the full reasoning behind the gesture.
"It's good to tell this story. I always want to help people," Mabil said.
"A lot of people suffer with mental health [issues].
"That celebration is to bring peace to the mind and, for people know are suffering from depression or whatever it might be, to represent them and let them know it's okay, they just need to talk to someone.
"You need to talk, you shouldn't cover your mouth. That's the story behind it.
"I'm always going to represent the people and I'm a man for the people."
Mabil's goal – his fourth in just seven international appearances – set the Socceroos on their way to a hard-earned three points at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.
Chris Ikonomidis and Tom Rogic were also on target in a triumph which takes Graham Arnold's men through to the Round of 16, where they will meet either Japan or Uzbekistan.
"It's very big," Midtjylland ace Mabil said of the result.
"We said we needed to keep our momentum going and we showed it tonight.
"The first game wasn't the start we wanted but you can see in the last two games we've scored six goals. That's really good."
Featured image courtesy of the Asian Football Confederation