Unity Cup - Mark Liggins, New Zealand

Uploaded by AttitudeTV on 27.07.2010

I’ve been chosen to go to South Africa for the World Cup – YEAH!!!!
New Zealand – a country known for extreme sports. Population just 4 million. There’s
only one professional football team in this country and the New Zealand All Whites world
ranking is 78th but football still rates as the most played sport in this country. Auckland
City of Sails is home to Mark Liggins.

I just like doing it and scoring all the goals
and keeping the ball near me so people don’t grab it and try and score goals from their

35 year old Mark plays in the mid field. Mark’s getting pointers from New Zealand’s
soccer legend Wynton Rufer, the player named FIFA Oceania Footballer of the century.

I was little I couldn’t really kick a ball, I used to stand back and then kick it but
I’ve come a long way and I’ve never played up front in my life, I used to play at the
back and I didn’t really like playing at the back, I wanted to play up the front and
kick all the balls into the goal.

The ball comes over, a couple of Brazilian juggles,
smash the ball into the net – that’s the one.

He’s got a couple of brothers who
are very good soccer players but even they haven’t achieved this.

Growing up alongside
those brothers meant there was always someone to kick a ball around with.

Mark Liggins
has been selected to represent New Zealand on the Unity Cup team.

Six years ago Mark
joined the Special Olympics team, he’s been a regular ever since and never expected he
would be playing internationally.

Tremendously proud, it’s been a five year journey with
him. He’s attended ribbon events to quality to regionals, he qualified regionals to make
nationals, he was ranked third in New Zealand individual skills.

His life has been filled
with so many episodes where he hasn’t achieved, he’s had challenges and time after time
he doesn’t make the grade but this time he is so this is a real turn around for him.
It makes a world of difference – imagine for yourself what it would be like if everything
you do you fail and you’re told you’re not good enough.

I live in Mission Bay Auckland
and very shortly I’m going to the World Cup in France and looking forward to it all…….
South Africa yeah….

I knew I was going to get chosen because I’m pretty fit and
got good ball skills.

It’s given me confidence as well and I’m enjoying it.

I’m involved
in all sports and it’s very important to keep me fit.

This is my parents place, I
don’t really live with them but it’s nice to come and see them now and again.

no longer lives at home but his parents are preparing him for his overseas adventure.
Mark knows he’s facing a 20 hour plane journey to get from New Zealand to South Africa but
he’s still coming to grips with just how far away that is.

Could be somewhere around
there so I’ll be going from NZ to South Africa.

New Zealand has many organizations
that encourage people with intellectual disabilities to lead independent lives. For the past five
years Mark has shared a house with six others who are also intellectually impaired.

I live
with a nice bunch of guys, they’re really helpful around the house and I enjoy living
with them and the food is really nice – yeah it’s all good.

He spends his week
days working in the outdoors. Farmer Steve Carrigan lives down the road from Mark and
is teaching him work skills.

He comes and helps me do firewood and clear a bit on the
property and works with the cattle and fencing and any odd jobs that we get around the neighbourhood
or the community Mark comes and gives me a hand and he’s a good worker and I’m glad
to have him.

Good luck mate and if there’s room for another Manager bring me along!


I’m coping really well, I’m not really nervous I’m just looking forward to going.