Hani Al-Masdar, the former coach of Palestine’s Olympic football squad, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, as confirmed by the Palestinian Football Association.
Al-Masdar, 42, previously played as a midfielder for Al-Maghazi and Gaza Sports clubs before retiring in 2018. After his playing career, he transitioned to coaching the Palestinian national team.
His passing marks yet another grievous blow to Palestinian football, the association said. It highlighted that since October 7, a total of 88 athletes, both male and female, including 67 football players, along with 24 administrators and technical staff, have lost their lives.
In late December, a prominent Palestinian footballer, Ahmed Daraghmeh, 23, was killed by Israeli forces when Israeli troops entered the city of Nablus to escort Jewish worshippers to a site known as the biblical Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city.
The Palestinian Olympic teams were planning to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, marking its eighth appearance at the Games, if athletes can secure travel out of the occupied territories amid a brutal Israeli war on Gaza and deadly crackdowns on the West Bank.
So far, two Palestinian men, Ahmed-al-Zahhar and Wasim Naief, have expressed their intention to compete in the archery event at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
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