One-legged soccer players aim for a league in Egypt

‘The Miracle Team’ consists of 25 players who meet twice a week to train in Cairo

25 players from different parts of the Egypt gather twice a week to train on a pitch in Cairo, aiming to eventually become the countries first recognised professional amputee football team. Video: Reuters

 

A group of Egyptian soccer players have formed a team for one-legged players, hoping to start a league in the country.

“The Miracle Team” consists of 25 players from across Egypt who meet twice a week to train in Cairo.

While the team began training in freestyle soccer, a non-competitive art where players perform tricks, they soon decided to aim higher.

“I started bringing the people in and coach Yousry, the team coach, called me to start training me on freestyle football,” said team captain Mahmoud Ibrahim Tawfik, who lost a leg in a road accident more than 20 years ago.

“I told him I have another dream of becoming a real life soccer player, not just a freestyle footballer who has skills.”

Members of "Miracle Team" attend a training session at El Salam club on the outskirts of Cairo. Photograph: Reuters
Members of "Miracle Team" attend a training session at El Salam club on the outskirts of Cairo. Photograph: Reuters

The team hope to inspire other disabled Egyptians to take up the sport and eventually establish a federation which could regulate a domestic league.

Despite their enthusiasm, the team faces many challenges: a lack of funding, an insufficient amount of special crutches and difficulties finding a regular pitch for training.

Amputee football has special rules: seven leg-amputee players play on each team and goalkeepers must have one arm. Crutches are not allowed to touch the ball and there is no offside rule or limits to substitutions.

There are 42 nations who now have national amputee football federations, according to the World Amputee Football Federation. The next amputee football World Cup is being held in Mexico later this year. – Reuters