The ball was kicked from a distance of ten meters with a beautiful curve, aiming at the top left corner of the goal. Time seemed to stop, and all froze until suddenly, the ball swooped out. The perfect “cat-like” reflexes of him managed to block the shot to rip the net and score; this action is wowing crowds — such an unforgettable moment.
His name is Eman Sulaeman, Indonesia’s 30-year-old world cup goalkeeper. He was born without legs. However, his extraordinary appearance later made him selected as the best goalkeeper and succeeded in bringing his country ranked sixth out of 48 participating countries.
Sometimes in life, we are taught things like don’t give up quickly because the struggle is never in vain. It sounds cliché, but this can be an inspiration for us. You, and we are in the same position to make life more valuable and meaningful.
In 2016 our friend Rizki Kurniawan (Indonesia HWC’s manager) asked us to make a pair of boots, which was quite challenging because it was not the regular boots we used to make, these boots would be worn at the Homeless Worldcup event in Glasgow (HWC). He told me that it was quite hard to find a bootmaker who could do wanted to do custom boots with unique feet. With a fairly tight schedule and limited production time, plus, we had no experience at all in making sports shoes, especially shoes with special needs. There were doubts and a few worries within us. Still, we saw the spirit and passion within that that encouraged and inspired us, so we decided to accommodate and accept the challenge.
Eman Sulaeman’s life journey may not only be an inspiration to us, but also in the world. Born without legs and only one full foot — would be a difficult challenge. But disability does not dampen his passion for realizing the dream of playing football.
We quote Eman’s interview from the Homelessworldcup website.
It’s the fulfillment of a lifelong passion for the game he has played since he was a child. “Basically I love football so much. It has allowed me to overcome barriers such as discrimination, which I have faced since I was a child.
“I come from a poor family and have lived in my poverty, so it has been difficult for me. But I’ve always tried to do my best and learn how I can develop myself to overcome these problems. Finally, I can handle everything, because football has given me confidence in my life.”
With his background, playing football barefoot is common for Eman. It isn’t easy to get the right footwear, and it will be costly if he has to custom order. However, the rules of the HWC tournament require the use of footwear, making teams and management must make shoes specifically for him. And We are fortunate to contribute to this memorable experience.
In this shoe design, we use unlined pull-up leather. With boots height of about 9inch and 6inch, we adjusted the height of the two different legs. We strive to make these boots as flexible as possible so that gestures become easier. Then on the bottom area, we add a little rubber as a pad so that the traction control is more awake. Sewing construction in making this pair of boots is almost like making baby shoes; with a blake stitch construction, the strength of these boots, even with heavy friction, can still stand firm. As time goes by, we have to cut the height of these boots to around 4 inches. Because the thickness of the shoe becomes thicker when combined with these socks, it causes the movement to be a little stiff. Still, thanks to this effort to cut the height, give Eman a better flow in moving. This is reflected in the achievements he got as the best goalkeeper in HWC.
WHERE IS EMAN NOW?
At this time, Eman, with his love for the world of football, managed to have his football school (SSB) in his hometown—Majalengka.
It was such An honor and extraordinary experience for us. What we have done can accompany one’s dreams come true. Eman, with his goal, also has all the limitations that might be impossible for some people. He can achieve it brilliantly – It inspired us to continue working, making shoes as an unstoppable companion in various situations and possibilities.