One-legged Egyptian soccer players aim for a league of their own

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Members of “Miracle Team,” made up of one-legged, crutch-bearing soccer players, attend a training session at El Salam club on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt Dec. 29, 2017. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Members of “Miracle Team,” a soccer team made up of one-legged, crutch-bearing soccer players, attend a training session at El Salam club on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt Dec. 29, 2017. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Members of “Miracle Team,” a soccer team made up of one-legged, crutch-bearing soccer players, attend a training session at El Salam club on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt Dec. 29, 2017. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Khaled Hassan, coach of “Miracle Team,” made up of one-legged, crutch-bearing soccer players, speaks to his team before a training session at El Salam club on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt Dec. 29, 2017. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Members of “Miracle Team,” a soccer team made up of one-legged, crutch-bearing soccer players, attend a training session at El Salam club on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt Dec. 29, 2017. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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Team coach Yousry Ibrahim, helps Mahmoud Tawfik, 28, captain of “Miracle Team,” a soccer team made up of one-legged, crutch-bearing soccer players, at El Salam club on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt Dec. 29, 2017. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Updated 02 January 2018
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One-legged Egyptian soccer players aim for a league of their own

CAIRO: A group of Egyptian soccer players have formed a team for one-legged players, hoping to start league for disabled players in the country.
“The Miracle Team,” consists of twenty-five players from across Egypt who meet twice a week to train on a pitch in Cairo. While the team began training in freestyle soccer — a non-competitive art where players perform tricks with a ball — 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,” team captain Mahmoud Ibrahim Tawfik, who lost a leg in a road accident more than 20 years ago, told Reuters.
“I told him I have another dream of becoming a real life soccer player not just a freestyle footballer who has skills.”
The team hope to inspire other disabled Egyptians to take up the sport and eventually establish a federation which could regulate a domestic league for the disabled.
“In each governorate we are asking the players to form a team to spread the game,” said team coach Yousry Mohamed Ibrahim.
Despite their enthusiasm, the team faces a raft of challenges: a lack of funding, a paucity of special playing crutches and difficulties finding a regular pitch for training.
Amputee Football has special rules: seven leg-amputee players play on each opposing team, and the 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


Wenger to leave Arsenal after two decades in charge

Updated 20 April 2018
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Wenger to leave Arsenal after two decades in charge

LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is to leave at the end of the season after a reign of almost 22 years that made him the most successful boss in the Premier League club’s history.
“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” the Frenchman said in a statement issued by the Gunners on Friday.
Wenger, 68, has been with the North Londoners since October 1996 and is by far the longest-serving current manager in English football.
He will be out of contract at the end of the season.
Arsenal are currently a distant sixth in the league but are in the semifinals of the Europa League, which represents their only realistic route to the Champions League next season.
“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity,” said Wenger, who urged the fans to stand behind the team to end the season on a high.
Arsenal’s majority owner Stan Kroenke said it was “one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport.
“One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch,” he said.
“His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.”
Wenger won three Premier League titles, including going unbeaten for an entire season, seven FA Cups and took Arsenal into the Champions League for 20 years in a row. They won the league and FA cup double in 1998 and 2002.
The club said a successor would be appointed as soon as possible with German Thomas Tuchel, out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund almost a year ago, installed as the early bookmakers’ favorite.