Leamington man plans football tour to raise money for Palestine causes
Using the beautiful game to help people in Palestine is the aim of a Leamington man who is hoping to take a team of footballers over there in the autumn.
IT project manager and father-of-one Jatinder Sanghera, 45, is organising a trip called Football for Palestine where a team of 15 players and a support team of five will take part in five football matches in major cities and towns in the West Bank including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus and Jericho.
The objective of the trip will be to have fun, meet different people, build a greater understanding of Palestine and its political situation and, most importantly, to raise money for charities helping the people there.
Mr Sanghera said: “Being a Sikh I don’t have a religious affiliation with the people there so I’m coming from a humanitarian angle.
“When you put the politics to one side and consider what the people are like and the beauty of the place and the food and the culture it is great.
“I want people to see what it is like over there and the difference between what goes on there what is being shown in the media.”
The tour, which will take place between October 9 to 16 will raise money for national charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Working with Villages in Palestine, a Coventry based organisation which specialises in supporting shattered rural communities with grass roots practical help.
It will also give people the chance of a lifetime to visit a country with long historical traditions, religious significance as well as great geographical beauty.
Mr Sanghera became interested in visiting Palestine and helping its people with their plight after the last conflict in Gaza.
Last year he took part in the Cycle Palestine 2015 fundraising event in support of MAP.
He said: “The point of the football tour is to appeal to people who wouldn;t necessarily want to go on a cycle tour and to appeal to a younger age group and get a different demographic involved you can have any level of skill and experience
“All the kids over there play football, it is their main sport and this doesn’t have to a competitive thing it is open to any level of ability and anyone over the age of 18.
“The other thing is it would be nice to have some teachers and youth workers come along so they can pass on their experiences to youngsters and create long term links between our towns and Palestine.”
Mr Sanghera said he already has nine players and that he is hoping to take a mixed sex team.