Palestinians play football in a public park during a temporary Hamas and Israel cease fire in Gaza City, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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Palestinian footballer Ahed Zaqqut was a local legend.The 49-year-old was killed outright, robbing Gaza of one of its best-known players and most well-respected coaches.Football is hugely popular across the Palestinian territories, where it has been played since the 1920s, during the time of the British mandate.The best footballers go on to become stars in the Arab world, playing for teams in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, for example, but local stars are much loved heroes in Gaza and the West Bank."In 1993, he played a friendly in Jericho between a Palestinian team and a French team captained by Michel Platini," she said.He went on to set up the first football training ground in Gaza with his team winning the local championship in 2000 .The war comes at a devastating time for Palestinian football.Just weeks after its crowning achievement, Palestinian football has fallen to a new low.
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