Gaza team wins Palestine Cup despite Israeli restrictions

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Players of the Gaza-side Shabab Rafah football team celebrate with the Palestinian cup following their victory in the second leg of the Palestinian Cup final at the stadium in the city of Dura, near the West Bank town of Hebron, on Friday. (AFP / HAZEM BADER)
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A player from the Gaza-side Shabab Rafah football team (blue) jumps to head the ball against a member of Hebron's Ahly Al-Ahli team during the second leg of the Palestinian Cup final at the stadium in the city of Dura, near the West Bank town of Hebron, on Friday. (AFP / HAZEM BADER)
Updated 04 August 2017

Gaza team wins Palestine Cup despite Israeli restrictions

HEBRON, Palestinian Territories: Shabab of Rafah became the first Gazan team to win football’s Palestine Cup in more than a decade Friday, despite Israeli restrictions keeping 10 of its players off the pitch.
Rafah and Ahly Al-Khalil from the southern West Bank city of Hebron which hosted the game ended the second leg nil-nil, but Rafah’s 2-0 first leg lead meant it took the title.
The Gazan club had to field a weakened side, with only 15 of its 25 members of the playing squad given Israeli permits to travel.
Rafah director Khaled Kweik told AFP it was the first time the team had ever won the cup, calling it a “historic” victory.
“We were harassed as we entered the West Bank and the Israelis banned 10 players from entering,” he said after the final whistle.
“But the rest of the players were able to protect the draw and take the title.”
The West Bank and Gaza are separated by Israel, and Palestinians looking to travel between the two must apply for Israeli permits.
Ahly won the cup in 2015 and 2016, but its home advantage in this year’s second leg was not enough to see it overturn the two-goal deficit.
The annual fixture pits the winners of separate cup competitions in Gaza and the West Bank over a two-leg final — one in each of the Palestinian territories.
The cup did not take place for 15 years largely over problems with Israeli permits, but resumed in 2015 after world football body FIFA intervened.
On Thursday, Shabab announced that 10 of their players had been prevented from entering Israel through the Erez border crossing with Gaza.
COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry agency responsible for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, said the ban was for “security reasons” compounded by a late submission of paperwork.


Another Paris Saint-Germain player tests positive for coronavirus

Updated 24 October 2020

Another Paris Saint-Germain player tests positive for coronavirus

  • PSG were badly hit by the virus at the start of the current Ligue 1 season

PARIS: An unnamed Paris Saint-Germain player has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the club’s Ligue 1 match against Dijon on Saturday.
PSG were badly hit by the virus at the start of the current season, when Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes all had to self-isolate after a holiday to Ibiza following the team’s Champions League final loss to Bayern Munich.
The player would also likely miss Wednesday’s Champions League game at Istanbul Basaksehir.
Thomas Tuchel’s men lost their opening group match at home to Manchester United earlier this week.