KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — The national amputee football squad in its quest to qualify for the 2022 Amputee Football World Cup, is actively engaged in competitive matches.
The Malaysia Amputee Football Association (MAFA) assistant coach, Fakri Raimi, 30, said although the team was only established in 2016, they had long-term plans to qualify for the 2022 Amputee Football World Cup.
“Among others are participating in various international competitions and MAFA too will be organising the 2020 MAFA Invitational Championship with the participation of India, Indonesia, Iran, Nepal and an invited team from Palestine in February next year,” he told Bernama.
Fikri who has one leg amputated said participation in various competition would enable the national team to gain a better ranking, besides strengthening the player’s understanding of which majority of them playing football on a part-time basis.
“Each team has to compete in the qualifying rounds and the Asian continent is given three slots to the World Cup with two so far filled by teams which are considered powerhouses, namely Japan and Iran but I believe we can compete to grab the remaining slot,” he said.
Besides the Asian continent, the Amputee Football World Cup involved the participation of 17 countries from Europe, four each from South America and Africa. The last competition was held in 2018 in Mexico and was won by Angola.
The national team led by coach Sunny Shalesh has 50 players aged between 16 and 40 with 95 per cent of them having lost their legs in accidents, while the remaining were disabled from birth.
In another development, MAFA is also actively involved in #ProjekTongkat campaign to raise funds to bring a football team from Gaza, Palestine for a friendly match and to launch a series of tours nationwide in February next year.
It hoped to collect RM250,000 and surplus funds will be channelled to funds for Gaza.
The amputee football match consists of two 25-minute halves with a ten-minute rest period in between and was played in the pitch measured at 60 metres long and 40 metres wide, while the dimension of the goal post was 2.2 metres height and five metres width.
Each team consist of seven players including a goalkeeper, where each player has one leg amputated and use crutches without their prosthesis, while the goalkeeper has one hand amputated. — Bernama