Team Hope’s players are exempt from school fees and train for one hour per week, with doctors’ advice, Sarraj said.
Fourteen-year-old Moatasem al-Nabeeh suffers from a brain tumor. A new youth soccer team set up in Gaza for young Palestinian cancer patients has given him new hope. “I am happier now, I play and I made new friends,” said al-Nabeeh. “They told us we can play, defy the disease and defeat it,” he added as he hit the pitch for push-ups in his bright yellow and blue uniform.
Champions Academy, one of Gaza’s biggest soccer schools, began setting up the team up five months ago and in February “Team Hope” kicked off. Its 18 players, aged between 12 and 17, have all been diagnosed with cancer, and compete against other, non-patient teams in the academy’s league.