Palestinians enjoy first match in Gaza 'World Cup' under Israeli siege

Gazans have opened first World Cup aiming to raise global attention to Israel's blockade of the coastal strip.

Palestinians enjoy first match in Gaza 'World Cup' under Israeli siege


World Bulletin / News Desk

The flags of Netherlands, USA, Italy and France fluttered over the Gaza City stadium on Sunday, during the first match of the Gaza World Cup, with teams of Palestinian footballers and internationals - mostly aid workers - representing foreign countries in addition to Palestine, Jordan and Egypt.

Around 5,000 fans of all ages have enjoyed in the opening match, Palestine versus Italy.

The symbolic two-week tournament was organized to raise global attention to Israel's blockade of the coastal strip, Maan News Agency said.

Italy eventually won 1-0 after scoring through a penalty, BBC reported.

Sixteen teams are taking part in the two week tournament: Palestine, England, Turkey, USA, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Ireland, Egypt, Algeria, Spain, Serbia, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Jordan.

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Gazans live under heavy Israel siege for a long time and Egypt still insists on not to opening the only Gaza border crossing in a move condemned by Muslims around the world in protests, leaving Gazans desperate to digging tunnels underground and risking their lives.

"We want to show that Gazans enjoy life like every other people," BBC quoted Tamir Qamoud from the United Nations Development Programme, as saying. United Nations Development Programme is organising the event.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is a former football player.

Some of the foreign players looked as if their best playing days were perhaps behind them.

The rather portly Italian left back, apparently no stranger to the tiramisu trolley, was substituted after only 15 minutes, looking a touch flushed.

Under the blockade, it can be very difficult for Palestinian players to leave Gaza to play abroad - and for West Bank and Gaza players to train together.

Last Mod: 04 Mayıs 2010, 02:33
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