Wales team to compete in football's first ever Transplant World Cup

  • ITV Wales' Dean Thomas-Welch reports from Swansea.

The first ever Transplant Football World Cup will be held in Italy this summer - and Wales will be there.

The team consists of people who have received kidney, liver, pancreas, and bone marrow transplants as well as people who have become living donors.

Some of the team’s players are also back on dialysis and waiting for another transplant.

James Murphy had a kidney transplant six years ago.

James Murphy received a kidney transplant in 2018

He said: “I found out that my kidneys had failed back in 2017. I then had to receive dialysis treatment for 18 months. Then, in November 2018, I received a transplant which was donated to me by my mother.

“Since then, I obviously feel a lot better. I realised how ill I was at the time and being able to keep fit and play football again has been brilliant.”

The team is coached by James’ father, the former Swansea City Centre of Excellence coach John Murphy. Under his stewardship, the team has grown from strength to strength.

He says the team struggled during Covid but are now stronger than ever.

“We got involved for the wrong reasons because James had to have a transplant,” he said.

“Obviously I went to see him in the first games at Newport and I was asked if I’d give help with coaching which I 100% said yes to. But then Covid came in.

“But now we are back up and running and hopefully not looking back.”

Team treasurer Melanie Pickman says it'll cost up to £20,000 to get the players to Italy

Although their place at the World Cup has been confirmed, the group needs to raise enough money to fund their attempt at global success.

The team’s treasurer Melanie Pickman says they need all the support they can get.

“We’ve got a Crowdfunder page but we are trying to approach local businesses and the community because it’s going to cost about £15,000 to £20,000 to get the World Cup because of accommodation and the flights.

"And we want to support them and get them there. Not everyone can afford to go to these things.”

Away from the field, this group of players have the fight to overcome anything. They’ll be hoping to channel that determination when they take on the rest of the world this summer.

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