GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – The Gaza Strip has kicked off its own version of football’s World Cup, pitting 16 teams of local and foreign players in a contest to win a trophy made out of twisted metal and rubble from last year’s war with Israel.
Organizer Patrick McGrann says the Gaza World Cup is meant to highlight a three-year blockade that has prevented most of the tiny territory’s 1.5 million residents, including athletes, from being able to travel abroad.
The two-week competition got under way Sunday with a match between the “Italy” and “Palestine” teams. Most of the teams are named after international football powerhouses like Brazil, Spain and France.
The squads have a small contingent of foreigners from these countries, mostly international aid workers who are based in Gaza.