Salford Red Devils have handed a once in a lifetime opportunity to a young Palestinian refugee… the chance to train with the English Super League outfit at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Khaled Issa, 20, will have over 10 days to learn from the Reds and develop his skills at a professional rugby league team, a move which forms part of ongoing links between the Super League Club and Palestinian Rugby League.
“I am a very proud that we have been able to set up these links with the Palestinian RL,” Salford owner Marwan Koukash, who spent three years as a child in a Jordanian refugee camp (described in the video below from 3:54 onwards), told the club’s official website.
“I really do hope that projects like this will not only encourage the development of the game more internationally but also more importantly give young kids such as Khaled a real life changing opportunity.”
Khaled, whose family fled to Beirut when he was a child, is highly regarded, having played for the senior Palestinian team at 16.
Rabie Al Masri, the director and founder of Palestinian Rugby League who has been helping to train refugees since 2008, discovered the Khaled playing football and introduced him to the sport.
“From the first training session I did on the municipality fields in Beirut till today, Khaled has been serious and responsible player.
“He is a smart, courageous and strong guy and has shown his ability as Captain of the Under 16 team and he is always here for the team.
“We wanted Khaled to go to Salford Red Devils to have a great experience with a big professional team and I hope he will learn a lot to bring back and pass on to the Palestinian players.
“It is a dream for him to be visiting England and to be part of Salford Red Devils and we hope Khaled will have a great time.”
Main image courtesy of Salford Red Devils Foundation via YouTube, with thanks.