550 players on 50 teams made the tournament a major community Ramadan event, drawing large crowds of football enthusiasts. The month-long, amateur tournament celebrated Ramadan by providing a festive tournament as a safe place for people for to have fun and build community ties.
Tournament co-founder Adnan Abu Al Sa’ud writes: “The final day included a 20 min karate demonstration followed by the final game which was between Al Quds and Taberiyya. Mahmoud Fahajan scored the first goal for Al Quds in the first half, and from there on it was a lively back and forth struggle as Al Quds defended its advantage but was also prevented from scoring by a tenacious Taberiyya defense. As the second half clock ran down, it looked like Al Quds had a lock on the game, but in the last minutes Taberiyya, reaching for a last reservoir of energy, made a remarkable u-turn and two goals were scored by Ahmad Al Lulahi and Muhammad Al Qadi. That lifted the team to the podium of triumph amidst the cheering and excitement of the audience.” Read Mr. Sa’ud’s full message.
This is the 6th year of the tournament, and as its theme each team took the names of towns and villages in historic Palestine overrun or destroyed by Israel in 1948. Tournament organizer Adnan Abu Al-Saud, said the theme marked “a point of convergence between Rachel Corrie as a human rights defender and Gaza refugee’s legacy of resisting injustice.”
Our project partner again this year in Gaza was the Al Basma Club for the Disabled, whose all-deaf team has been a part of the tournament for the last several years. Please do visit their site to find out what this great NGO is doing in Gaza and elsewhere in the region.
The tournament organizers in Rafah created the space, and the players put their all into the games. Everyday life is resistance in Gaza, and this tournament is just one example of how these players and these great fans are pushing back the walls of occupation and living their lives despite the siege. And this sixth annual Rachel Corrie Ramadan Football Tournament could only have happened with the support of many people from around the world, like you.
Learn more about the tournament and previous tournaments and see photos by perusing our site menu, above. We are deeply thankful for the continued commitment of our supporters to this great grassroots community event, and the people of Gaza and Palestine.
John Harvey, Olympia WA, USA
Andrew Ford Lyons, United Kingdom