Gaza forms football team for dwarfism to compete internationally
A football team composed of players experiencing skeletal dysplasia, commonly known as dwarfism, has been established in the coastal enclave of the Gaza Strip and will play at international sports competitions, announced the Palestine Football Association for Amputees organisation.
"Including five players, the team is going to play in an Arabian competition to be held in Morocco next May," the association said in a press statement sent to The New Arab.
"The team is part of the Palestinian national football team for dwarfism, established in Lebanon in 2021 and recognised by the National Football Association," the announcement added.
Twice a week the team will undergo intensive training for the games in Morocco.
Alaa Miqdad, one of the players from Gaza with a height of 1.18 metres and in his 40s, expressed joy about joining the team. "It is our golden chance to change the stereotype vision of us (people with short stature), mainly as most think that we are disabled and cannot do everything normally as they do," he said to TNA.
"I am sure that such a team will help us to prove that we can present our Palestinian state at international forums," Miqdad added.
"Even though the team has faced financial and technical difficulties, we decided to compete in the upcoming match in Morocco," Fouad Abu Ghalion, Head of the Palestine Football Association for Amputees, asserted to TNA.
"We are so happy to represent our Palestinian State in the international and Arab competitions," said Haitham al-Saqqa, another player from Gaza.
"Players from Gaza in general, and those with dwarfism in particular, have challenged many obstacles to qualify for matches outside of Gaza because of the Israeli blockade. Israel bans us from going to the West Bank to join professional training with our colleagues there and attending any meetings with our National Football Association to know more about our future," he added.
"As a result," Saqqa further said, "all the five-member team was forced to train by themselves and improve skills without any funds."