Monday, February 25, 2013

Challenge Cup Picks!

With the CCQs coming around in a few days time, I ventured some predictions as to how these groups will end up looking. First place of each of the five groups qualifies to the final tournament and the best two of the second placed teams also earn a ticket to the Maldives - making for a total of 7 qualified teams.

My predictions (teams in bold qualify):

Group A
India
Myanmar
Chinese Taipei
Guam

Group B
Tajikistan
Kyrgyzstan
Pakistan
Macau

Group C
Laos
Afghanistan
Sri Lanka
Mongolia

Group D
Palestine
Nepal
Bangladesh
Northern Mariana Islands

Group E
Philippines
Turkmenistan
Cambodia
Brunei

To make things interesting for myself, I pledge to buy a Palestine Supporter Shirt if I correctly guess the qualified nations with a score >70%. In fact I might just buy one either way!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Squad named for Challenge Cup training camp

Mahmoud Sheikh Qasem - A tough presence in the midfield

Twenty one players from the WBPL and seven players from Gaza have been called up for the Jericho training camp in preparation for next month's AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. As the matches are not on FIFA matchdays, it was understood from early on that the squad will be composed mainly(if not fully) of domestic players. That being said, the PFA has officially written to Al-Faisaly to request the services of stalwarts Khader Yousef and Ashraf Nu'man but seeing as how the Jordanian club will have AFC Cup fixtures around the same time of the qualifiers, it is unlikely the players will be released.

In my opinion the squad looks solid enough to achieve what it wants in Nepal. I was impressed by Khalid Mahdi and Nadim Bargouti's showing as center backs in the India friendly so the absence of Bahdari/Jarun/Daniel Kabir shouldn't be an issue. Similarly I think Murad Ismail, our Palestine player of the tournament last year, should be a first choice in holding midfield partnered with "Al-Koori" Salah. When it comes to offense, while Ashraf Nu'man's absence will definitely be felt, there is enough caliber to get the goals necessary.

Jamal Mahmoud has a week to trim the list, and with seven Gaza players in the running, there will be tight competition for some positions - details in the rest of the post.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another March in Nepal

Preparations will get underway tomorrow for the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers with a training camp in Jericho and the team will leave for Kathmandu in a week. Palestine's qualifying group includes hosts Nepal, Bangladesh and debutants the Northern Mariana Islands. The group winner will earn a spot in the finals of the tournament next year. 
The group will likely be decided on the final matchday when Palestine meets Nepal and, for the sake of buildup to the event, we offer a brief flashback to the last two times the sides faced.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Nu'man in a league of his own as Palestine score a comeback win in the Subcontinent

Ashraf Nu'man: Hat-trick Hero

India took the lead twice during the first half of today's encounter in Kochi but a quick succession of goals early in the second half put Palestine in a comfortable lead which it had no trouble protecting for the rest of the match. Details after the jump.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Palestine test the grounds in Kochi; India eager to please home fans

Source: twitter(@saysarun1)

What: International Friendly
Where: Nehru Stadium, Kochi, India
When: February 6, 2013
Kickoff: 1300 GMT

Streams: Stream 1 // Stream 2 

The National Team received a warm welcome as they landed in Kochi in the Indian state of Kerala on Sunday. Pictures coming out of Cochin International Airport showed the players being greeted with smiles and mini-bouquets - a lovely gesture by the Kerala Football Association.

The players took the field at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium today (shown above) amid revelations that Imad Zatara will not be catching up due to sickness. Jamal Mahmoud has plenty of options in the midfield, but will surely miss the services of the plucky winger who could have caused a lot of trouble to the Indian right flank.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Squad named for India friendly

Jamal Mahmoud has named an 18 man squad that will make the trip to Kochi in the state of Kerala for a friendly with India next week. Notably absent from the list(due to circumstances not mentioned) are Omar Jarun, Alexis Norambuena and Ramzi Saleh.

GK
Toufic Ali (Tarji Wadi Al-Nes, PLE)
Mohammed Shbair (Shabab Al-Khalil, PLE)

Defense
Abdel-Latif Bahdari (Hajer, KSA)
Hussam Abu Saleh (Hilal Al-Quds, PLE)
Khaled Mahdi (Al-Am'ary, PLE)
Ahmad Salama (Al-Am'ary, PLE)
Nadim Barghouti (Shabab Al-Khalil, PLE)
Raed Fares (Hilal Al-Quds, PLE)

Midfield
Abdelrahim Ka'beia (Shabab Al-Dhahrieh, PLE)
Khader Yousef (Al-Faisaly, JOR)
Mousa Abu Jazr (Shabab Al-Khalil, PLE)
Mahmoud Salah (Al-Am'ary, PLE)
Ma'aly Kaware' (Al-Am'ary, PLE)
Imad Zatara (Ă…tvidabergs FF, SWE)
Abdelhamid Abuhabib (Shabab Al-Khalil, PLE)

Forwards
Eyad Abugharqoud (Shabab Al-Khalil, PLE)
Ashraf Nu'man (Al-Faisaly, JOR)
Khaled Salem (Shabab Al-Dhahrieh, PLE)