Sevilla striker Freddie Kanoute used last night’s Copa Del Rey match with Deportivo La Coruna as the backdrop to publicise his message of support for the Palestinian people during the current war in Gaza with Israel.
With the Mali striker having scored Sevilla’s second of the night, Kanoute, a devout Muslim, lifted his shirt to reveal his under-shirt which had “Palestine” written across it. As may have been expected, Kanoute was shown a yellow card for his behaviour, however it can be assumed that the forward took his booking on the chin for his greater goal of publicising his political message.
Kanoute's goal celebration can be seen here.
Freddie Kanoute is not the only footballer to have shown public support for the Palestinians in recent days. Egypt and Al-Ahly’s playmaker Mohamed Aboutrika wrote an open letter of support for Palestinian people on his club’s official website.
Aboutrika said: “We are eager to help all Gazans. I suggest that Ahly or Egypt play against a high-profile team, then we could use the amount of money generated to support the families of Palestinian victims. We need Ahly, the Egyptian Football Association or any private foundation to take the initiative of organizing such an event. I would wear that shirt everyday if that was the solution. I call on all Egyptians and Muslims over the world to pray for the Palestinians.”
From the Israeli side, all domestic league matches were postponed by the Football Association on Monday as a consequence of the military operation currently unfolding in Gaza and the rocket-fire against the south of the country.
Israeli sportsmen have suffered directly during the current war on Gaza. In the first days of the conflict, Israeli third-division side Hapoel Ashkelon had their training session cancelled after Katyusha rockets landed and exploded in the penalty area at the club’s training ground while players where making their way to the pitch.
While in Turkey on Tuesday, violent scenes erupted against a visiting Israeli basketball team, who were forced to seek refuge in the locker room when local Turks began rioting in the stands chanting “God is Great” and “Killer Israel.” (Footage here.)