World Cup qualifier: Australian players to face Palestine in Kuwait, pledge donation to Gazatext_fields
Kuwait City: The upcoming World Cup qualifier football match between Australia and Palestine has been relocated from the West Bank to Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait. Originally scheduled to take place in the politically charged region, the move aims to ensure the safety of players and address logistical challenges.
The Australian national team, known as the Socceroos, and players, along with a matching contribution from Football Australia, are set to donate a substantial five-figure sum to Oxfam for humanitarian work in Gaza.
This isn't the first time football has intersected with remarkable stories of resilience. Harkening back to 2008, during a period of deadly Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian footballer Hazem Alrekhawi survived a missile strike on a bus carrying him and his classmates.
Initially presumed dead, Alrekhawi defied the odds, recovering from severe injuries to pursue a remarkable football career.
Fast forward to the present, the footballer, who has played for eight different clubs over a decade, decided to return to his hometown club Shabab Rafah. His return was not only driven by a professional choice but also a personal one—to join his brother Mohammed, who miraculously survived an intense Israeli bombardment on Gaza earlier this year. Strikingly captured in photographs, Mohammed emerged from the rubble of his home, battered but alive, wearing the unmistakable Shabab Rafah shorts.
The brothers' tale adds a poignant layer to the ongoing conflict in the region, shedding light on the resilience of individuals who, despite facing adversity, continue to pursue their passions and contribute to the world of sports.
As the World Cup qualifier unfolds in Kuwait, it serves as a reminder that beyond the pitch, the human spirit endures, even in the face of challenges that transcend the realm of sports.