Friday, June 17, 2011

Palestinian soccer seeks points for statehood

For years, Palestinian soccer was disorganized, underfunded and hindered so much by Israeli travel restrictions that games were often forfeited because players couldn’t arrive for kickoff.

But the sport is growing, with new stadiums rising across the West Bank, the local soccer federation hosting international competitions, and the Palestinians set to host their first-ever World Cup qualifying match next month.

On July 3 the Palestinian team will welcome Afghanistan in an early-round World Cup qualifier.

Players say boosting the game is about more than sports: It’s a mission to build an independent nation.

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