Simon Baker Gaza – Limerick man Simon Baker has returned to The Gaza Strip, Palestine, to coach the Palestine Amputee Football Association (PAFA) national football squad.
Amputee football leader Simon Baker travels to Gaza to coach national league
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Rachel Petticrew
Limerick man Simon Baker has returned to The Gaza Strip, Palestine, to coach the Palestine Amputee Football Association (PAFA) national football squad in preparation for next weekend’s ICRC League Cup and the 2022 World Cup.
Simon, an amputee himself, founded the Irish Amputee Football Association (IAFA) and is an advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for football. He first travelled to Gaza with the ICRC in 2019 to work on an initial amputee football project.
The Adare man strives to help other amputees come to terms with their disability and become active members of society.
After landing in Gaza on Sunday, November 28, Simon selected an extended PAFA squad by putting athletes through various skill and fitness tests.
Those who make the cut will be kitted out on Thursday, December 2, in a ceremony attended by Palestinian government ministers, members of the ICRC delegation and the PAFA president.
The ICRC League Cup will commence on Saturday morning, December 4. The winning team will be celebrated in a ceremony on Monday, December 6, the International Day of People with Disabilities.
Commenting on his trip to Gaza, Simon said, “I’m feeling honoured and excited to be invited back to the Gaza strip as a consultant for the ICRC and to be part of their physical rehabilitation programme. I am looking forward to meeting all the players and seeing first hand the great work carried out by PAFA”.
On his first visit to Gaza in 2019, the football coach visited Azhar Palestine Model Primary School for children with learning disabilities. Touched by the visit, he set up a GoFundMe page which has raised over €6,000 for the school.
Simon, who lost his leg after a workplace accident in 2004, has previously developed amputee football in Tanzania, as part of Project Amputee Football Tanzania, in association with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and European Amputee Football Federation.
In 2018, Simon met with Tanzania’s Minister of Sport to ask for assistance in developing the Tanzanian Amputee Football Federation.
For more information on Simon Baker and the Irish Amputee Football Association, go HERE
For more stories on Gaza go HERE