The team is now hoping to attract more players as well as government support.
The first football team for people with cerebral palsy and motor impairment has been set up in Egypt, according to Africa News.
The team was created by Abdallah Essam, who is affected by cerebral palsy himself. It now counts more than 15 players, and has been created in hopes that an official federation for people with cerebral palsy as well as other disorders would be formed in Egypt.
Abdallah hopes that this can create enough of a buzz for the government to get behind the idea, so that they can reach the global stage. “I wish that people with disabilities or those afflicted with cerebral palsy would join us, so that we would have a bigger base to communicate with officials to create a federation and a league here in Egypt”, he said. The team has even called on government officials to watch them play.
Ashraf, a member of the squad, is happy to finally be able to play with people who have the same disorder. “I started playing football a long time ago, but in this team I found myself playing with full freedom. While playing with my able-bodied friends, there were people who were saying that they need to be careful around me. When playing with my friends here, I do not feel like this at all, and I feel that there is freedom. We are equal and there are no psychological pressures,” he said.
This is not something new or unique to Egypt; cerebral palsy competitions have been around for ages, with the first one held in Scotland in 1978. The sport now exists in more than 60 countries in the world. It was added to Summer Paralympic Games in New York City in 1984, and has been played at every Summer Games since. The sport, however, doesn’t have the exact same rules as FIFA football – there are no offsides, for example, and throw-ins are permitted to be thrown with one hand, among other small modifications such as the length of play, which has been reduced to two thirty-minute halves.
Main image from Complete Soccer Guide)