Gaza / Nour Abu Eisha / Anatolia
In a closed gym, 5 soccer teams, whose members are people who have lost limbs, compete in a local Palestinian championship, which was launched for the first time, in the Gaza Strip.
Unlike grassy and open fields, indoor soccer, briefly called “futsal” or “five-five”, requires high skill as it is played in a narrow space.
The Palestinian Football Association inaugurated the amputation, in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City, and the Prosthetic Membership Center of the Gaza Municipality, this tournament on Wednesday in the “Seed Sayel” hall, in Gaza City.
The tournament, called the “First Indoor Amputee Football 2022” in Gaza, will last for 5 weeks, with two matches per week.
Players who have lost “lower” limbs use crutches in their movement, except for goalkeepers.
In 2019, sports interest started among the people who lost their outskirts, as the first team of amputations of children in Gaza was founded by Irish coach Simon Baker, founder of the Ireland Football Association for Air Persons.
** Hope and ambitions
The young player, Muhammad Abu Beidh, from the Shejaiya neighborhood, east of Gaza City, lost his leg due to an injury he sustained during the war that Israel launched on the Gaza Strip in 2014.
Abu Beidh told Anadolu Agency that the amputation, “to which he was subjected, did not kill his determination, but rather increased his determination to realize his sports ambitions and dreams, especially in the football sector.”
He added: “After the amputation, I fulfilled my dreams of representing Palestine in football, as I joined the Palestinian national team for all matches for people with disabilities, including amputated football.”
He explained that he represented Palestine for football in Iran and Turkey, while according to him he gained the experience and skill of football for amputees through his professionalism in the Turkish league for two years.
He expressed the hope that “the parties who support the Palestinian sports sector will pay more attention to sports related to amputees, as this is the one that hoists the Palestinian flags in international and regional forums.”
In turn, the player Ahmed Abu Nar (34), a resident of the central region, who lost his left leg during his participation in rallies near the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip, in 2018, expressed his happiness at this to join local championship.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, he said that he started practicing sports before being amputated, but he continued this sports career, after the injury.
He continued: “Before the amputation, I played football and athletics, and because of the void that hit my life after the amputation, I decided to return to my sports hobbies.”
Abu Nar strives to “achieve high levels of professionalism in all kinds of sports, whether football or cycling, and to represent Palestine in international games.”
** Psychological support programs
In turn, Muhammad Douima, Director of the Gaza Municipality’s Prosthetic Membership Center, said that this tournament falls within the joint community rehabilitation program with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Paralympic Committee.
In his interview with the Anadolu Agency, he added that this activity “to integrate people with disabilities into society, and to provide them with psychological support, in light of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and the absence of sports programs to sponsor them. “
He explained that his center offers a number of programs for people with disabilities, including “physiotherapy, prosthetic limbs and devices, medicine and medical supplies, and community and psychological support programs.”
He pointed out that there are a number of challenges facing the service of providing artificial limbs in Gaza, including “the difficulty of bringing material into the Gaza Strip due to the siege, in the light of the large number of injured. “
He pointed out that his center seeks to provide high-quality prosthetic limbs to serve amputees, in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Ahmed Moussa, director of physical rehabilitation programs at the Red Cross Committee, says in turn that this tournament is part of “activities organized for the fourth consecutive year to support the Palestinian Amputee Football Association.”
And he added in his interview with Anadolu Agency: “These sporting events come to promote and integrate people with disabilities into society.”
He explained that the launch of the indoor soccer championship, which is being applied for the first time in Palestine, and includes 5 teams, adds a new sport for amputees.
And he indicated that his committee provides continuous training, held twice a month, for children with amputations (less than 16 years old), in an effort to reduce the presence of children in the game of football from an early age. to improve.
He continued, “It’s to qualify them and to have a higher level that qualifies them to join the national team or the junior team.”
Regarding the services provided by the committee to people with disabilities, Moussa said that it has “supported the Prosthetic Limbs Center in Gaza since 2007 to provide high quality limbs for people with disabilities.”
** Sport reality
Abdel Salam Haniyeh, Assistant Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport, says the sports sector in Gaza has been affected for the 15th year in a row by the ongoing Israeli blockade, and the repeated military attacks.
In his interview with Anadolu Agency, he added: “Sports stadiums in Gaza have been bombed, and players and athletes have been amputated.”
He continued, “But we came out of every fight stronger than before, so we rebuilt the stadiums that were demolished, and we prepared the sports activities for all matches during the season, and the Palestinian Paralympic Committee for Sports with Disabilities is formed, which includes 400 players. “
He explained that despite the “difficult conditions the people of the Gaza Strip were experiencing, they wanted the Palestinian message to be a smile and a love of life.”
He added: “It also contains a message of challenge to the occupation, which has stolen our land and homeland.”
He pointed out that the Palestinian team had previously participated in the first qualifiers for the Amputee World Cup in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
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