MENA Sports Wrap: Keffiyehs and a minute's silence for Gaza

MENA Sports Wrap: Keffiyehs and a minute's silence for Gaza
3 min read
17 November, 2023
MENA Sports Wrap: Palestinian footballers, from Palestine and the diaspora, have highlighted the plight of the people in Gaza by donning keffiyehs.
Palestine took on Lebanon in a World Cup qualifier [Getty]

Palestine's national team played a World Cup qualifying match against Lebanon this week amid the dark backdrop of the Gaza war.

The players wore black-and-white checked keffiyehs, a symbol of Palestinian identity, as they entered the pitch, to commemorate the 11,500 victims of Israel's onslaught on Gaza.

Palestinians in Chile displayed their solidarity with Gaza on their sleeves, with black armbands donned by the players of Deportivo Palestino this week.

The team, formed by members of the Palestinian diaspora in South America, has frequently shown solidarity with Palestine in the past and did so again this week.

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Chile club pays tribute to Gaza victims

Chilean football team Deportivo Palestino paid tribute to those killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza during their match against fellow Primera Division side Ñublense on Sunday.

Players walked out onto the pitch on Sunday sporting keffiyehs adorned with the colours of the Palestinian national flag, in a show of solidarity with the thousands of Palestinians who have lost their lives amid Israel’s onslaught.

The starting 11 also wore black armbands - an item usually worn to commemorate victims of tragedies.

Before the match started, the team's players took the knee in tribute to those killed in Gaza, with thousands killed in the Israeli assault.

After the match ended with a 1-1 draw, midfielder Felipe Chamorro said: "We did this for the people of Gaza, for Palestine. They are suffering a lot."

Chamorro said people "should be aware" of what is happening in Gaza, where at least 11,500 people have been killed by Israeli strikes and bombardments, with thousands more facing dire conditions after Israel's siege on the enclave cut off water, fuel, and food.

The 22-year-old also went on to wish strength for the people of Gaza going through this ordeal.

Deportivo Palestino was founded in 1920 by members of the Palestinian community in Chile - home to the largest Palestinian diaspora outside the Arab world.

The club showed solidarity with the Palestinian cause on a number of occasions. Last year, the club paid tribute to slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by displaying her picture before a football match.

Palestine and Lebanon stand together

Palestine took on Lebanon on Thursday, in a bid to make it to the 2026 World Cup amid the heartbreak of the war on Gaza.

The game was held at Khalid bin Mohammed Stadium in Sharjah in the UAE after Lebanon, who should have hosted the game, was slapped with a one-match ban for unrest in a game against Syria.

The two teams stood side-by-side in a minute's silence for over 11,500 Palestinian victims of Israel's war on Gaza, which has seen entire neighbourhoods levelled and hospitals targeted.

Both teams took home one point after the game ended 0-0, with Australia topping the group after beating Bangladesh 7-0.

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Al-Nassr women's team wins Riyadh derby

The Saudi Women's Premier League saw the Riyadh derby this week with Al-Nassr taking on Al-Hilal last Friday.

The game ended in a nail-biting 4-3 win for Al-Nassr, with two goals from Tanzanian international Clara Luvanga.

Al-Nassr have won their first four games of the season and top the Saudi Women's Premier League with 12 points.

While the men's Saudi Pro League has taken the spotlight with big-name signings such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, Riyadh is also investing in the women's league.

Jeddah side Al-Ittihad snapped up Leicester City defender Ashleigh Plumptre in September, while the Saudi women's national side has also been playing competitive football for the first time.