CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations, is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA. It’s a global acting non-profit organization that supports representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories. The 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup took place in London and the capital was represented by the local-based team, Barawa. Courtney Austin was one of the strikers in the team that finished the tournament in 8th position.
How do you fit physical activity and sport around your day-to-day life in London?
For the CONIFA World Football Cup, I’ve taken time off work, so it’s not affected me. However, on a day-to-day basis it’s a different story. Normally, any time after work – any free time I’ve got when I’m not resting or sleeping – is spent working on myself, working on my sport, working on my game. The love for the game is what keeps me going, what keeps me motivated. I want to reach the top, so I know what I have to do. Because of that I try to make the most of London’s parks which are usually free, so I just turn up and use the facilities that are there. I’ve also got a local gym membership to a few local gyms, so facilities are not a problem.
Has physical activity helped you to shape your identity?
Sport has given me a sense of belonging in the community. I feel like physical activity has got me a lot of recognition in the area where I live. I think that now, a lot of people that live in my community associate my face with different sports like athletics, football or basketball. So, I think sport has given me that recognition in terms of that.
What was your journey through physical activity and sport, what got you to where you are now?
I started off playing Sunday League football at AFC Wembley and then got scouted by Brentford. I spent 4 years at Brentford, completed my scholarship but then Brentford’s academy closed down. I then went to play football for a bit in Cyprus and Australia. Then I came back and played non-league football for Hanwell Town and I’ll hopefully kick on and get back into the full-time game.
Do you have any ambitions or goals related to physical activity and sport?
My main aim is to reach my maximum ability, whether that is in the Football League or non-league. I think enjoyment is the most important thing; when you enjoy it, you play your best. When you don’t enjoy it and if you put a lot of pressure on yourself, you tend to perform a lot worse than when you enjoy yourself. As long as I keep enjoying it, I’ll keep on playing until I can’t play any more.
Do you have your own physical activity or sport story to tell? Just get in touch with us to share your story.