Alaa lost his left arm when he was a child due to a medical error, shaping his upbringing with his disability. Despite this, he has been playing football since his childhood as a goalkeeper. Upon joining the team, everyone assumed he had experience playing abroad due to his sharp skills.
Even though he never felt different, he was delighted to discover an association dedicated to people with disabilities.
He fondly recalls one of his greatest moments when he successfully defended against a penalty strike within the first ten minutes of their first match in the 2022 Amputee Football World Cup in Istanbul, Turkey.
Alaa reaches out to all people with disabilities saying “Don’t assume that disability marks the end of your life, quite the opposite. Empower yourself to rise, explore the world, and challenge the mindset that suggests people with disabilities are any less capable than those without. Break free from the limitations.”
The IAFA played a pivotal role in transforming the lives of individuals who once hesitated to venture out, turning them into confident members who now take pride in their physical disability and in sharing personal pictures on social media.
Despite the diverse circumstances that resulted in injuries among team members, the Iraq Amputee Football Association united individuals from across the country. They are bound together by shared challenges and a common passion – football.
“Despite being a relatively new association, the football team achieved a remarkable feat by reaching the 2022 Amputee Football World Cup and securing victories against three established teams of Germany, Uruguay, and Ireland. Competing against teams with 20-30 years of experience, the Iraqi team secured the nineteenth place. Mohammed, the founder, proudly states, “Our initial ambition was solely to participate, but not only did we participate, we also managed to secure victories against some teams. This, in itself, is a significant achievement for us.”
As a part of its social inclusion programme, the ICRC has been supporting the IAFA and has funded the most recent tournament between the IAFA teams across the country in November 2023.
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