Last season, Ahli Al-Khaleel went to Gaza to play Shabab Khan Younis in the Palestine Cup final, between the West Bank & Gaza cup winners’. One of their top players at the time was Mahmoud Wadi. Wadi is a Gazan-born striker, one of Palestine’s main prospects for the future. After impressing at the Palestine Cup against Al-Ahli Khaleel a year before, the Hebronite club bought him together Mohamed Saleh, and the impact was immediate.
The young striker has scored multiple goals for the red devils from Hebron, starring both at the local and continental stage. But then, something had stopped his progress. When Al-Ahli have came back from Gaza from the first leg against Shabab Khan Younis, the IDF have prevented Wadi from returning to the West Bank, in the disclaimer of security charges. In one moment his whole career was in danger. Playing in the Gazan League is slightly different from the West Bank – both money-wise and professional-wise.
Broken about his destiny, Wadi did not give up on his dream. He returned to his boyhood club, Ittihad Khan Younis, and worked hard. He scored regularly and became Ittihad’s captain. When Al-Ahli came back this season for the Palestine Cup final, this time against Shabab Rafah, Wadi was featured in their line-up. Deep inside he hoped to come back to Hebron with his former club. But it didn’t happened.
Al-Ahli did not take chances at the return, as they have enough mess to deal with, traditionally in the Palestine Cup games in Gaza. But then, Wadi got an interesting offer through a Palestinian agent. The agent had an offer for Wadi from Al-Ahli. But it wasn’t Hebron’s Al-Ahli, but the one of Amman, Jordan.
Al-Ahli Amman is a medium sized club in the Jordanian Dauri Manaseer. Together with Moha Balah, Wadi joined the club, and The duo is taking an active part in one of its best season-openings ever. After five games, Al-Ahli are in 2nd place with 9 points, scored 12 with Wadi netting 5 of them. This Saturday Al-Ahli hammered Al-Yarmouk 3-1, while Wadi scored an impressive brace, and sent a message to the bigger teams of Jordanian capital – who’s the striker they need to fear of, this season.
The story of Mahmoud Wadi is not a story about Gaza, or about the occupation. It’s even not a story about football. It is a story of a boy who dreamed big, believed in himself no matter how hard reality was and what obstacles were in front of him, and achieved his goals, against all odds. We need more of these stories, in football, in Gaza & in general.