Friday, October 30, 2009

Ramattan: PFA working to arrange 6 friendly matches

According to Ramattan news agency, the PFA is in contact with the football bodies of 6 Arab countries(Lebanon, Syria, KSA, Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait) to arrange friendly matches.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Observation....

I find it amusing how some in the 'western' media try to sensationalize happenings in the Middle East and elsewhere based on cultural differences....
Remember when that journalist threw a shoe at Bush? Reading articles on and others, youd notice that they couldnt stress enough that shoe throwing is an insult in the arab world. yea? like it isnt elsewhere...

Anyways, this is a NY Times article on the Palestine & Jordan womens team match. Its well written, but still the journalist had to note the 'significance of women playing'.

Now if you want to lump the whole Arab world together, especially the gulf, women playing sports might be 'significant'. But the reality is that the womens game is established in Palestine with clubs in Bethlehem and Ramallah. The real significance of this match is its international status.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Womens NT plays first home match, U-20 suffers consecutive defeats

On October 26th 2009 in a repeat of their male counterpart's encounter on the same day last year, Palestine and Jordan's womens national teams faced off in a friendly in the Faisal-Husseini stadium. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, heres the Ma'an news agency article on the match.

Our U-19 team is in Nepal trying to qualify for the AFC U-19 cup. They lost on Sunday to Jordan 3-1 and lost Tuesday to Tajikstan 3-0. Their next match is against Yemen on Thursday at the Dasarath Rangasala, the same stadium we saw our AFC Challenge Cup hopes crushed last March. Click here for more info...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What would the perfect defense lineup look like?

We have discussed before the steps needed to be taken to ensure future successes...we could say that this is a continuation of that discussion.
I have always maintained that the defense is the most important element of a team. It provides a basis for the flow of play, if you have a good defensive line, then you take pressure off of the midfielders and strikers to fulfill their attacking duties. If there is one set of positions we have been blessed with in terms of options, it is the defense.
From inception in 1998 until recently, our defense was lead by Saeb Jundiya who captained the team and played in the libero position. A permanent fixture that accompanied him was Hamada Eshbair. Saeb's age started to show and his role became more of a motivational one towards his last few matches. He was never formally dropped, rather, he and Eshbair suffered the fate of those players who remained in Gaza following the blockade.
Over the past couple of years with the absence of our core defense players, other players were bound to step up. We traditionally play with four defenders, so in my opinion, here are the players Mousa Bazzaz should have on the top of his list.

Roberto Bishara
Joining the national team in 2002 during the Chile connection, he is the longest playing player of the recent call-ups with the exception of Ramzi Saleh and Fadi Lafi. Mousa Bazzaz has not yet started focusing on players abroad and according to reports he plans to scout. Bishara does not need scouting as he has already proven himself time and again. His last call-up was the unsuccessful Challenge Cup qualifying campaign earlier this year. With his club, he plays either centre back or defensive midfield. With the national team, he plays on the left wing.

Majed Abu-Sido

Another veteran, he joined the national team at the young age of 18. Majed plys his trade in Kuwait, currently with Tadamon. While the other players on this list add sheer strength to the lineup, Majeds strong point has to be his technical defensive ability. His positioning, man-marking and long passes are top class. Last call-up: last week vs UAE.

Abdul-Latif AlBahdari

He first came to light in the West Asian games that were held in Iran in 2007. When the West Bank league started he was part of the wave of Gaza players that were signed by clubs. He join Al-Am'ary and after impressing, especially against Jordan last October, he caught the attention of Al-Wahdat, one of the big 2 clubs in Jordan, where he was professionally signed in the summer. Abdel-Latif is now a permanent fixture in the Palestine defense.

Mohammad Abdel-Jawad

Along with Al-Bahdari, he is one of the newer faces. He has not been called up recently because of his injury but he is one of the best centre backs I have seen play for Palestine.
(club: Birah)

I couldnt write this list without mentioning Omar Jarun who is definitely promising. Click the link to read an interview we had with him earlier this year.
Another notable mention is Ra'fat Ayyad who did well in the UAE match last week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's a Celebration!!!

So Palestine was knocked out of World Cup Qualifying two years ago, but go ahead and celebrate because Israel has just been officially knocked out of qualifying by virtue of Greece's 2-1 victory over Luxembourg and Israel's 0-0 draw against Switzerland. A big thanks goes out to Latvia and Greece the only two teams to beat Israel a smaller thanks to Switzerland who went undefeated against them via two draws on the first and last day of qualifying.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Goal vs UAE(10/10/09)

As my co-poster 'Fernando' predicted, excellent support for the team. Those fans in the stands, thats what its all about...

UAE 1-1 Palestine

Palestine ended the first half leading courtesy of a goal by Ismail Amour, who gave an excellent game. The UAE equalized in the second half. Definitely a good result, will post related multimedia soon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Comment: UAE v Palestine

As put it, the UAE could avenge its defeat to us 10 years ago in the Saturday friendly.
I think its obvious we are facing a much stronger UAE than the one we faced 10 years back. Their domestic league has greatly developed since then and it is one of the top leagues in Asia. Not to mention their star players like Ismail Matar.
I feel confident with Ramzi Saleh in goal and Bahdari and Abo Sido in defence, but we continue to lack in the midfield. Mousa Bazzaz(still havent agreed on spelling) hasnt revealed the formation he will use but with the squad list its fairly obvious who is going to be where. He has options in the offense with Ahmad Keshkesh, Fadi Lafi and Fahd Attal present.
The match is at 15:00 GMT, my only issue is that it kind of conflicts with the Bahrain-New Zealand match which I plan to follow with my Bahraini friend. But then again, who of us hasnt watched two matches simultaneously before?
Many in the Palestinian footballing community arent happy with the PFA or the national team. Im pissed off myself. A solid performance tommorow might change that, but I am not going to bet on it.

UAE vs. Palestine Preview

Palestine Squad:

GK: Ramzi Saleh (Al-Ahly, Egypt), Abdallah Al-Saidawi (Hilal Jerusalem), Mohmmed Shbair (Al-Am'ary)
D: Husam Wadi (Al-Am'ary), Samer Al-Hijazi (Jabal Al-Mokaber), Abdaltif Bahdari (Wehdat, Jordan), Ri'fat Eid (Jabal Al-Mokaber), Majed Abusidu (Tadamon, Kuwait), Ehab Abu Jazr (Hilal Jerusaem), Ma'ly Kawa're (Al-Am'ary).
M: Suleiman Obeid (Al-Am'ary), Ismail Al-Amour (Jabal Al-Mokaber), Akram Al-Sayouri (Shabab Al-Khaleel), Ashraf Nu'man (Wadi Al-Neis), Hisham Al-Salhi (Hilal Jerusalem), Khader Yousef (Wadi Al-Neis), Rami Al-Rabi (Al-Birah)
F: Ahmed Alan (Jabal Al-Mokaber), Mohammed Abu Keshk (Thaqafi Tulkarem), Fadi Lafi (Shabab Al-Ordon, Jordan), Ahmed Keshkesh (Wehdat, Jordan), Fahed Atal (Al-Jazeera, Jordan).

UAE Squad:

GK: Majeed Nasser (Al-Wasl), Obaid Al-Tawilah (Al-Ahli), Waleed Salim (Al-Ain)
D: Yasser Salem (Al-Wasl), Mohanad Salem (Al-Ain), Hilal Saeed (Al-Ain), Mohammed Qassim (Al-Ahli), Bashir Saeed (Al-Wahda), Haidar Alo Ali (Al-Wahda)
M: Eissa Ali (Al-Wasl), Abdullah Malallah (Al-Ain), Ali Al-Wehaibi (Al-Ain), Yousif Jaber (Al-Ahli), Ahmed "Dada" Mohamed Mubarak (Al-Jazeera), Amir Mubarak Ghanem(Al-Nasr)
F: Ismail Matar (Al-Wahda), Mahmoud Khamees (Al-Wahda), Saeed Al Kass (Al-Wasl), Hasan Ameen (Al-Wahda), Mohamed Rashid (Al-Ahli)

So Palestine is in action for the first time since the summer friendlies against Iraq and China. It will be the second match with Moussa (Tits Man) Bezzaz at the helm. Squad selection sees Ramzi Saleh return to the fold for the first time in 13 months. Five other foreign-based players will surely find themselves in the first XI. Abdaltif Bahdari should marshal the defense with Tadamon left-back Majed Abusidu patrolling the left flank. Much needed offense should be provided by the Jordan-based triumvirate of Ahmad Keshkesh, Fahed Attal, and Fadi Lafi. Don't be surprised however if one of them is left on the bench in favor of a defensive midfielder.

Most UAE fans are probably focusing on the U-20 side's World Cup quarterfinal match against Costa Rica. As a result, the Emiratis will be missing their two young goal-getters Faisal and Ahmed Khalil. Look for the danger up top to be provided through Ismail Matar.

Prediction: Palestine's squad is slightly stronger than the squad that faced China, the presence of Ramzi Saleh alone (one of the best shot-stoppers in Asia) makes a world of difference. Al-Fursan are also expected to be cheered on by a sizable Palestinian contingent... and if UAE league games are anything to go by Palestinian fans might just outnumber Emirati fans. So prediction time... with Ramzi Saleh in goal anything is possible. 1-1 with Saleh making at least a dozen amazing saves.

General Match Information: 2:45 GMT, Al-Wasl Stadium, UAE. Streams maybe available here. Alternatively, Arabic speakers can check for updates on Palestine's kooora forum where a kind soul may have posted a stream.