CAIRO – Egypt’s amputee soccer team are hoping to boost their World Cup chances when they head to Tanzania this month for their first appearance in a regional African tournament.
Egypt is one of few Arab countries with a national team for amputee football, also known as crutches football.
The squad of 14 for the African Cup of Nations for Amputee Football starting on Nov. 26 was selected from 150 players playing the sport across the country.
“Our ambition is to take the cup so that on our return we can set up a league and have teams that some of our players could join,” said one of the players, Ibrahim Ahmed.
“We only have 150 players now but I’m sure there are more amputees (in Egypt) who want to play.”
The team will face Nigeria and Ghana in the group stages. Success will improve their chances of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Turkey.
“There were a few obstacles in the beginning especially since the team only trained once a week, but we were able to improve their fitness levels,” said Mohamed Khairy, one of the team’s trainers.
“We did really well in this past period and we’re hoping that after our participation in the competition we’ll come back with a trophy for Egypt.”