Thursday, July 29, 2010

Majid Balawi reveals ineptitude, indifference within Palestine's FA

A couple of days ago, a report concerning the state of our National Team and its players in the Diaspora was posted on kooora.com. Most of the information in the report came from an interview the author conducted with Majid Balawi. Always suspicious of the validity of such reports, Football Palestine tracked Mr. Balawi down and asked him to confirm the report (which he did) and asked him a couple of more questions, below are translated excerpts from the article that appeared on kooora followed by our own questions.

The Palestinian FA under the leadership of former President Ahmed Al-Afifi had called up Ahmad and Anas Sharbini to participate in the Cairo camp ahead of 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Singapore. The players were informed by their father who was overjoyed by the news and Mr. Balawi went about arranging their participation in the camp. The brothers never made it to the camp after the duo received death threats in Croatia they opted not to show up. After the National Team's loss and forfeit to Singapore, Jamal Sharbini was surprised that the National Team did not follow up again with his sons. He had attributed this lack of communication to the fact that the National Team did not play a single game between October 2007 and August 2008.

Upon the election of Jibril Rajoub as FA president, Majed Balawi expected the team to once again call up foreign-based players in the Diaspora:

"I made contact with Mousa Bezzaz and asked him to call up Ahmad and Anas Sharbini. He replied by saying that he would alert his scout, Mohammed Abou Hiltim to follow up with the players. I waited for the FA to contact Jamal Sharbini who is insistent that his sons only play for Palestine. Jamal called me and told me that the Croatian National Team manager Slaven Bilic had called Anas up but that he had told Bilic (without Anas's knowledge) not to use him in any official games as his aspirations are to play for Palestine."

Balawi goes on to state that he does not know why the FA has rejected his offers to help or why they have refused to call up either of the Sharbini brothers.

Concerning the Jordanian FA's approach of the Sharbini brothers Balawi stated: "Both players have Jordanian citizenship and Social Security numbers. I had known this all along but I had not revealed the information in the hope that they would play for Palestine. I elected to give this information to the Jordanian FA after the continual stonewalling that I received from the Palestinian FA regrading these players. Members of the Jordanian FA have since travelled to Croatia to conduct talks with Jamal Sharbini."

The Jordanian FA has since moved to approach FIFA with an official request to change both players affiliation from Croatian to Jordanian. They are also exploring the possibility of securing the services of Omar Jarun, by calling for the game he played in to be wiped off the slate due to Palestine's withdrawal from the second leg.


1. How did you come to work for the Palestine FA?
MB: I never worked with them I used to volunteer for the former federation on my own expense making phone calls, traveling.

2. It seems that after the 2010 World Cup Qualifier, there has been a reluctance on the part of the FA to call up players who play outside the Arab World. Is this intentional? It seems that it might have been for a lack of funds but surely that can't be the case now.
MB: This is something not to my knowledge ask the federation. I offered my help but they didnt want it.

3. Are players like Roberto Kettlun, Edgardo Abdala, Imad Zatara, Omar Jarun, et al... still willing to play for the national team.
MB: Yes, especially Omar Jarun and Roberto Kettlun they always email me and tell me they want to go play with Palestine and I always send the coach their information and update him about games and their status.

4. We've heard a lot about the Sharbini brothers, can you confirm the reports attributed to you on kooora.com? Moreover, if the Jordanian FA were to move for Jarun and the Sharbinis surely FIFA would prevent them from capping players who haven't even visited that country and have no ties to it.
MB: No you're [mistaken] all of them have a Jordanian Citizenship and after they didnt get any intrest from the Palestinian Federation and they got too much respect from the Jordanian Federation they are willing to go play with whoever respected them.

5. Were you or the FA ever in communication for players like Miguel Sabah, Daúd Gazale, and Julio Mansur? Did they express interest in playing for the national team?
MB: Only Daud Gazalle is Palestinian to start with but he already plays with Chile I asked the other players personally and they are not Palestinian Miguel Sabah is Lebanase and Julio Mansur is Syrian but he plays for [Paraguay] and you have to understand there is too much wrong information about the Palestinian players.

6. Can you tell us about any exciting prospects you've been in touch with? The fanbase has been excited by Daniel Kabir Mustafa's ability and Yasser Anwar Corona who we don't know much about but is currently playing in the Mexican Primera for Puebla.
MB: These Players are also not Palestinian this is to my knowledge.

Give the Palestinian FA a piece of your mind by emailing them at info@pfa.ps, or better yet why not call? +972-2/295 9102

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yasser Arafat Cup Results: Matchday 4



Group 1
TeamPWDLGDPTS
1. Wadi Al-Nes4301-19
2. Jabal Al-Mokaber4301-19
3. Hilal Al-Quds (Jerusalem)421107
4. Shabab Balata420216
5. Asker4112-14
6. Hilal Areeha (Jericho)4004-40

Group 2
Team P W D L GD PTS
1. Merkaz Al-Am'ary 4 4 0 0 7 12
2. Merkaz Tulkarem 4 2 2 0 9 8
3. Shabab Al-Khaleel (Hebron) 4 3 1 1 2 7
4. Al-Dhahrieh 4 1 2 1 1 5
5. Al-Bireh 4 0 1 3 -10 1
6. Thaqafi Tulkarem 4 0 0 4 -9 0

7/26/2010

Wadi Al-Nes (TWN) 2
Hilal Areeha (HAJ) 0
Goals: Ashraf Nu'man (1-0), (2-0)

7/27/2010

Jabal Al-Mokaber (JAM) 3
Shabab Balata (BAL) 2
Goals: Ali El-Khatib (1-0), Ahmed Huwaiti (1-1), Husam Nebhani (1-2), Mohammed Khweis (2-2), Ali El-Khatib (3-2)

Thaqafi Tulkarem (TTK) 1
Shabab Al-Khaleel (SAK) 4
Goals: Fareed Attal (1-0), Ali Ayesh (1-1), Husam Ziyadeh (1-2), (1-3), Shadi Farhan (1-4)

Shabab Al-Dhahrieh (SAD) 0
Merkaz Al-Am'ary (MSA) 1
Goals: Husam Al-Barghouthi (1-0)

Merkaz Tulkarem (MTK) 7
Al-Bireh (MB) 0
Goals: Maen Jamal Obeid (1-0), Fadi Salím (2-0), Thaer Al-Bana (3-0), Khaled Jamal (4-0), (5-0), (6-0), Fadi Salím (7-0)

7/28/2010

Hilal Al-Quds (HAQ) 1
Asker (ASK) 1
Goals: Shadi Shweiki (0-1), Murad Alyan (1-1)

The final round of the group stage kicks off on Friday the 30th at 530 pm (Jerusalem Time +2GMT) with two games to determine who will advance in second place in Group 2 alongside Al-Am'ary. Merkaz Tulkarem will face Al-Am'ary knowing only that a win will see them through no matter the result of the other game. Shabab Al-Khaleel will be hoping to bag three points against Al-Dhahrieh and hope that Al-Am'ary prevent Merkaz from winning. Al-Dhahrieh is technically alive but will need to win and win big while also hoping that Al-Am'ary does them a favor.

Group 1 is starting to look a little clearer. Wadi Al-Nes and Jabal Al-Mokaber will meet to fight it out for first place, Wadi Al-Nes will only need a draw due to superior goal differential. Hilal Al-Quds will be hoping for a clear winner and a win against Hilal Areeha to leapfrog one of the sides into second place. A draw would mean the Jerusalem side will need to by at least six goals to go through. There is still faint hope for Balata, who will need to beat Asker by a healthy margin and hope Hilal Al-Quds draws or loses and that there is a winner in the Wadi Al-Nes Jabal Al-Mokaber match.

HADAF (Leading Goalscorer):
4 Ali Ayash (SAK)
4 Ashraf Nu'man (TWN)
4 Fadi Salím (MTK)
3 Khaled Jamal (MTK)
3 Shadi Farhan (SAK)


Ramzi Saleh set to become the richest Palestinian footballer

Ramzi poses with some newly acquired bling.

Still wondering why Ramzi Saleh chose to sign for Al-Merreikh over the more reputable Ismaily, Zamalek, Ittihad Alexandria, and Al-Hilal Riyadh? Well, according to Emirati newspaper Al-Ittihad, Al-Merreikh approached Ramzi with an irresistible offer to make him the richest Palestinian footballer of all time. According to the Emirati outlet, Ramzi Saleh will be paid a cool $1 million (USD) over two seasons.

I will say this, it could not have happened to a nicer person. It is tempting to say he chased the money, but remember that Palestinian players are not like their European counterparts. These aren't players that are making astronomical figures. The salaries of our professional players would make them solidly middle class and after a contract runs up there are no lucrative sponsorships or television gigs waiting in the wings. So I fully support this move, and seeing as how he will be playing continental football this year, he will get noticed.

In almost every single interview conducted with his fellow teammates there is nothing but kind words for Ramzi. They speak about his openness and his friendly nature and he gets along with every single guy no matter where he grew up. He's the perfect captain and he's a hell of a goalkeeper, here's hoping that he gets an offer to play in Europe very soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No Gazans included in Olympic Squad

Due to the inability of the FA to secure exit permits for players based in the Gaza Strip the Olympic Squad that is due to take part in the 2010 Asian Games will be made up exclusively of players who bide their trade in the West Bank. Olympic Team Manager Mokhtar Al-Talili has stated that the squad is made up of players who are currently in form and that the squad could change between now and November. Al-Talili also expressed his regret over not being able to include Gazans in the squad who have been training separately under the guidance of former National Team defender Jamal Al-Holi. The following 21 players will take part in a training camp in Al-Ram from August 1st to August 5th:

Jamal Abu Safafa (Thaqafi Tulkarem), Daud Mohammed Daud (Al-Abadiya), Sajid Karakara (Bireh), Mohammed Saïd Abadi (Asker), Ahmed 'Ala Hamed (Silwad), Mustafa Abu Kweik (Bireh), Alaadin Yameen (Ahly Qalqilya), Hassan Barghoosh (Thaqafi Tulkarem), Samaha Jabareen (Al-Dhahrieh), Hamzeh Wihdan (Ahly Qalqilya), Mohammed Shubayta (Asker), Mansour Adel (Al-Am'ary), Rami Musalmeh (Asker), Laith Kharoub (Thaqafi Tulkarem), Ali Fahmawi (Thaqafi Tulkarem), Hassan Hashash (Asker), Aysam Fuad Tabtab (Bireh), Hamdan Hisham Abu Awad (Bireh), Baha Nidal Barghouthi (Bireh), Ahmad Miari (Hilal Al-Quds), Luay Nassar (Ahly Qalqilya).


Monday, July 26, 2010

Nicola Hadwa Shahwan interview


The former coach of the Palestinian National Team, Nicola Hadwa Shahwan recently gave an interview to Atlas Sport. Below are translated excerpts of the interview:

On his current work:
Nicola said that he had not received any offers to coach a Palestinian club in the WBPL and he would jump at the opportunity to return to his homeland to do so. He is currently weighing up offers from Rangers of Chile and an Uruguayan club.

On Leonardo Zamora's move to Smouha:
"Zamora is a very good goalkeeper, this move is good for him in his efforts to get called up to the National Team, he will learn the language and the culture."

On the current state of the game in Palestine:
Nicola said that football is in a state of renaissance in Palestine, but a lot of work remains to be done if the team wants to be one of the best in the Middle East and qualify for a major tournament. The ex-National Team manager said he did not know much about current manager Moussa Bezaz but said that he must seize the opportunity to impress.

On talent in the Diaspora:
Nicola stated that he was in talks with high profile players of Palestinian origin who are now capped by other countries including Daúd Gazale, who played for Chile in the World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign, and Julio Manzúr who appeared for Paraguay in the 2004 Olympics and the 2006 World Cup. He also said that those two players in particular did express their interest in playing for Palestine before they were called up but a lack of initiative and communication on the part of the Palestinian FA caused them to accept call-ups from Chile and Paraguay.

Nicola Hadwa Shahwan coached Palestine for 11 games over a one-year (2002-03) period. His reign was marked by positive, possession based play which saw Palestine score 7 goals in four games at the 2002 Arab Nations Cup. In his 11 games in charge (0-5-6), Palestine only failed to score in three.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yasser Arafat Cup Results: Matchday 3


Group 1
Team P W D L GD PTS
1. Wadi Al-Nes 3 2 0 1 5 6
2. Jabal Al-Mokaber 3 2 0 1 4 6
4. Shabab Balata 3 2 0 1 2 6
3. Hilal Al-Quds (Jerusalem) 3 2 0 1 0 6
5. Asker 3 1 0 2 -4 3
6. Hilal Areeha (Jericho) 3 0 0 1 -7 0
Group 2
Team P W D L GD PTS
1. Merkaz Al-Am'ary 3 3 0 0 6 9
2. Merkaz Tulkarem 3 1 2 0 2 5
3.Shabab Al-Dharieh 3 1 2 0 2 5
4. Shabab Al-Khaleel (Hebron) 3 1 1 1 -1 4
5. Al-Bireh 3 0 1 2 -3 1
6. Thaqafi Tulkarem 3 0 0 3 -6 0

7/23/2010

Shabab Al-Dhahrieh (SAD) 3
Thaqafi Tulkarem (TTK) 1
Salem Droobi (0-1), Fadi Salím (1-1), Mamdouh Salem (2-1), Nuraldin Abu Bilal (3-1)

Merkaz Al-Am'ary (MSA) 2
Al-Bireh (MB) 1
Ahmed Abdullah (1-0), Ma'ly Kawre' (2-0), Mohammed Ashour (2-1)

Hilal Al-Quds (HAQ) 1
Wadi Al-Nes (TWN) 0
Fadi Lafi (1-0)

7/24/2010

Shabab Balata (SBA) 1
Hilal Areeha (HAJ) 0
Husam Nebhani (1-0)

Merkaz Tulkarem (MTK) 2
Shabab Al-Khaleel (SAK) 2
Own Goal (1-0), Ali Ayesh (1-1), Shadi Serhan (1-2), Mohammed Ayesh (2-2)

Jabal Al-Mokaber (JAM) 2
Asker (ASK) 1
Ahmad Alan (1-0), Jamal Alan (2-0), Raed Al-Hubali (2-1)


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dramatic days for Palestinian goalkeepers

We reported last week that Leo Zamora was on his way to Haras Al-Hodoud. It now seems that the player and club failed to agree to terms and Zamora took the opportunity to undergo trials at Zamalek and the newly promoted Smouha. Egyptian and Palestinian press are now reporting that Leo has agreed terms with the Alexandria-based club although most Egyptian outlets are convinced his first name is Omar. The 35-year-old will be the second goalkeeper to join the club during this offseason and it is understood that there is an open competition for the starting job.

In other news, National Team and Shabab Al-Khaleel net-minder Mohammed Shbair has been stuck in Jordan for nearly two months after being denied entry into the West Bank by the Israeli authorities. He has been staying in a hotel that is being paid for by the Palestinian FA and has been spending most his days with close friend and fellow Gazan Ahmed Kehskesh. He has become so frustrated that he has threatened to void his contract with Shabab Al-Khaleel and return to Gaza through Egypt and retire from the professional game. It is understood that the FA is hard at work to try and secure Shbair's entry to the West Bank.

Finally, the always unreliable Atlas Sport is reporting that Ramzi Saleh was engaged in a verbal spat with Merreikh's Goalkeeping coach during training. Atlas Spot also reports today, that the Khartoum-based club has closed training to fans due to the pressure faced by players after a 1-1 home draw with ASEC of Niger in the CAF Cup (Saleh did not participate in that game because he wasn't with Merreikh at the beginning of the season). Here's hoping the situation gets better or another club comes calling for the services of Ramzi Saleh. It is a shame that a player who was once on the brink of moving to a Premier League club is playing his football in Sudan.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Football Palestine is now on Twitter!


You can now get the latest on the Palestine National Team by following this blog on Twitter @FutbolPalestine. For all the skeptics out there here are the top five reasons why you should follow us on Twitter:

  1. Daily Updates: Ever accessed this blog and been disappointed to see any new posts? Twitter is the answer to your prayers... daily updates on all the happenings of Al-Fursan.
  2. All the news that's not fit to print: Gossip and Transfer Rumors that we can't verify it's like The Sun and News of the World rolled into one 140 character package.
  3. Play-by-Play: Can't watch the game but want to know how Al-Fursan are doing... We'll send you updates to your mobile device.
  4. Latest Results: You'll get the scores of all West Bank Premier League games, all National Team games, and the scores of every game in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America involving a National Team player.
  5. Roberto Bishara has one: You can follow him @jeque25, he's rather shy though... so why not give him a posse to tweet to?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Transfer News: Shabab Al-Ordon close to signing Majed Abusidu


This is turning out to be one of the longest and most complex transfer sagas of the summer. As of this year, we have reported that Abusidu was close to signing with [deep breath]: Sharjah, Faisaly, Al-Arabi, Al-Nassr, a mysterious Iranian side, and Al-Faisaly (again). It now seems, however, that the Jordanian side Shabab Al-Ordon are set to swoop in and sign Abusidu at the last minute. Al-Ghad and Atlas Sport are reporting that the contract could be signed as early as tomorrow. Abusidu clairified that there was never an offer on the table from Faisaly and that talks were exploratory in nature as were the talks with Kuwaiti side Al-Nassr. He went on to state that Shabab Al-Ordon's team play and status as one of the big three clubs in Jordan peaked his interest.

Abusidu will sign a one-year contract for an undisclosed amount. Further details of the interview with Abusidu can be heard here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yasser Arafat Cup Results: Matchday 2


Tuesday 19/07/2010

Jabal Al-Mokaber 4
Hilal Areeha 0
Husam Wadi 40' (1-0), Ismail Al-Amour 44', 50' (2-0, 3-0), Jamal Alan 77' (4-0)

Merkaz Tulkarem 3
Thaqafi Tulkarem 1
Salem Droobi (0-1), Fadi Salím (1-1), Mamdouh Salem (2-1), Nouraldin Bilal (3-1)

Wadi Al-Nes 5
Shabab Aker 0
Ashraf Nu'man (1-0), Hamzeh Adnan (2-0), Sameer Jamal (3-0), Hassan Youssef (4-0, 5-0)

Shabab Al-Khaleel 0
Merkaz Al-Am'ary 3
Muayid Saleem (0-1), Eyad Abu Gharduq (0-2), Khaled Al-Mahdi (0-3)

Wednesday 20/07/2010

Hilal Al-Quds 1
Shabab Balata 3
Said Al-Sobakhi p. (1-0), Husam Nebahani (1-1), Adham Abu Ruweis(1-2), Omar Ardinyeh(1-3)

Al-Bireh 1
Al-Dhahrieh 1
Mohammed Nael (1-0), Adel Al-Masry (1-1)


Group 1
Team P W D L GD PTS
1. Wadi Al-Nes 2 2 0 0 66
2. Jabal Al-Mokaber 2 1 0 1 3 3
3. Hilal Al-Quds 2 1 0 1 0 3
4. Shabab Asker 2 1 0 1 -3 3
5. Shabab Balata 2 1 0 1 0 3
6. Hilal Areeha 2 0 0 1 -6 0
Group 2
Team P W D L GD PTS
1. Markaz Al-Am'ary 2 2 0 0 5 6
2. Markaz Tulkarem 2 1 1 0 2 4
3. Shabab Al-Khaleel 2 1 0 0 -1 3
4. Shabab Al-Dhahrieh 1 0 1 1 0 2
5. Al-Bireh 1 0 0 1 -2 0
6. Thaqafi Tulkarem 2 0 0 1 -4 0

Palestine vs Sudan: Rebroadcast links

For those of you who missed last month's friendly against Sudan you can watch the match in its entirety by clicking on the following justin.tv links available on this website. You can also see pictures of the national team in Sudan here.

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yasser Arafat Cup Results: Matchday 1

The start of the first professional league in Palestine kicked off this week with the start of the Yasser Arafat Cup. This competition is only open to the twelve teams that make up the top flight. The competition is as follows: The 12 teams are divided into two groups of six compete in a single round-robin. The winner and runner-up in each group will advance to a single-elimination semifinal round. Here are the results and standings after the first round of matches:

Group 1
Hilal Areeha (Jericho) 1
Merkaz Shabab Asker 3
Asker: Hasan Al-Nursi (2) Hasan Hashash Hilal: Fuad Munasara

Hilal Al-Quds (Jeruslaem) 1
Jabal Al-Mokaber 0
Mahmoud Salah 69' (1-0)

Wadi Al-Nes 2
Shabab Balata 1
Khader Yousef 15' (1-0), Mohammed Huwieiti 19' PK (1-1), Sameer Jamal 22' (2-1)

Group 2

Merkaz Al-Am'ary 2
Thaqafi Tulkarem 0
Ayed Jemhour 36 (1-0), Mueyid Saleem 45+ (2-0)

Merkaz Tulkarem 0
Shabab Al-Dhahrieh 0

Shabab Al-Khaleel 3
(Hebron)
Al-Bireh 1
Ali Ayash 37' (1-0), Ali Ayash 55' (2-0), Mohammed Ashour 60' (2-1), Shadi Ferhan 70' (3-1)

Group 1
Team P W D L GD PTS
1. Shabab Asker 1 1 0 0 2 3
2. Wadi Al-Nes 1 1 0 0 1 3
3. Hilal Al-Quds (Jerusalem) 1 1 0 0 1 3
4. Shabab Balata 1 0 0 1 -1 0
5. Jabal Al-Mokaber 1 0 0 1 -1 0
6. Hilal Areeha (Jericho) 1 0 0 1 -2 0
Group 2
Team P W D L GD PTS
1. Shabab Al-Khaleel (Hebron) 1 1 0 0 2 3
2. Markaz Al-Am'ary 1 1 0 0 2 3
3. Markaz Tulkarem 1 0 1 0 0 1
4. Shabab Al-Dhahrieh 1 0 1 1 0 1
5. Al-Bireh 1 0 0 1 -2 0
6. Thaqafi Tulkarem 1 0 0 1 -2 0

Matchday 2:

Monday 19/07/2010
Markaz Al-Am'ary vs. Shabab Al-Khaleel (6.00 pm)
Hilal Areeha vs. Jabal Al-Mokaber (5.30 pm)
Merkaz Tulkarem vs. Thaqafi Tulkarem (5.30 pm)

Tuesday 20/07/2010
Shabab Asker vs. Wadi Al-Nes (6.00 pm)
Al-Dhahrieh vs. Al-Bireh (5.30 pm)
Hilal Al-Quds vs. Shabab Balata (5.30 pm)


Transfer News: Abusidu considering multiple offers

Majed Abusidu contemplates his next move.

[UPDATE] (07/20/2010): Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan has reported that Abusidu will join Al-Faisaly on a one season $110,000 contract. It appears that this news is false, the more reliable Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad is reporting that Abusidu is only on trial with the club. Details to follow...

Majed Abusidu has left Al-Arabi and will not travel with the squad's training camp in Egypt. The Palestinian wingback has decided to concentrate on the formal offers that have materialized during the past couple of days. Al-Arabi had wanted to sign the player but it seems that departing with one of the big foreign names (Kuwaiti teams are allowed up to three foreigners in their squad) would not have been financially viable.

According to multiple sources, Kuwaiti side Al-Nassr has made Abusidu a formal offer. Moreover, it seems that Al-Faisaly has stepped up its interest and has also approached Abusidu with a formal offer. Al-Watan reports that Abusidu will only sign with Al-Faisaly if he cannot reach an agreement with a side in the Kuwaiti Premier League. The Kuwaiti outlet goes on to state that an unknown Iranian side has also approached the defender for his services.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Transfer News: Shareef Adnan, Leo Zamora, and others on the move

Hernan Madrid (L), is officially presented as a Wadi Al-Nes player.

So it's that time of year again, Palestinian players across the Middle East and the world have been agreeing terms with new clubs. Palestinian wingback Shareef Adnan who was capped last year during the Iraq friendlies will move from Al-Faisaly to... Al-Faisaly. No, that isn't a typographical error- he's moving from the famous Jordanian club to the less famous Saudi one. Adnan, who had spent time most of the past two seasons on loan to WBPL side Shabab Al-Khaleel (Hebron), will join on a one-year deal worth $90,000. Al-Faisaly will be hoping to stay up in the Zain Saudi League after gaining promotion from the first division last season.

Leo Zamora, who was set to sign with Al-Masry last year before financial troubles scrapped the move, has signed with Harras Al-Hodoud. Zamora stated that he agreed to join the club in order to facilitate a return to the national team.

Wadi Al-Nes of the West Bank Premier League has been the most active in the transfer market. Moving to secure the signatures of Hernan Madrid, Emad Ayoub, and former Olympic team player Raad Qumsieh famous for scoring an absolute belter in a game against Kuwait. The other national team player of note to join the ranks of the now professional WBPL is Fadi Lafi who will captain Hilal Al-Quds (Jerusalem)

It seems that Al-Arabi, one of Kuwait's biggest clubs, has joined Al-Faisaly in the race to sign Majed Abusidu. He has started training with the club this week and could sign for the club if he impresses during the trial phase. The one stumbling block, however, is that Al-Arabi already have three non-Kuwaiti nationals in the side and would have to let go of one in order to sign Abusidu.

Another player that could be on the move is Imad Zatara, who has returned from his loan to Nimes Olympique and rejoined with Syrianska. His next rumored move is to be to a club in the Gulf with Ettifaq (Saudi Arabia), Ajman (UAE), Wasl (UAE), and a Qatari club all interested in the player.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Football Palestine goes scouting for talent

We often spend time scouring the internet for news on the national team. Kooora.com has a page dedicated to professional players abroad, a number of them have played for the national team but the vast majority have not. Many of the names are familiar to the followers of Palestinian Football bound to come up in any discussion of foreign-based players, others are intriguing prospects that haven't been mentioned or approached by officials from the PFA. Here is a list we compiled in order to better serve our readers. For your viewing pleasure we've taken it upon ourselves to eliminate those who have rejected or would reject an approach from the PFA

Players unlikely to Join Al-Fursan:

The Sharbini Brothers:
See this post from May of last year. Anas WILL get a senior cap in a continental qualifier very soon. Ahmad will hold out hope having played for Croatia at U-19 and U-21 levels and as long as he plays for one of Croatia's biggest clubs there will be an outside chance for him.

He's only 19 and has been called up for Chile's senior team once already, although he didn't play. It will be a matter of time until he follows the path of Daúd Gazale.

He's ruled out playing for us and wants to focus on getting into the Chilean NT. He mentions here that he had been approached by us and would rather play for Chile if given the choice.

Players who are past their prime:

31 years of age and average in every way imaginable. Plies his trade in Chile but is of Argentine persuasion where he was part of Palestino's incredible run to Clausura final in 2008. Currently plays for Union de La Calera. The way I see it, the man is either flat out not interested or completely unaware that he could play for Palestine.

Approached three years ago along with Mexico's Miguel Sabah, accepted, but wanted to be paid. Time has passed him and he is now on the wrong side of 30 and no longer playing in the top tier of Argentine football.

Has never been approached about playing for us, which is a shame since he probably would have accepted. He's 31 now and playing on an amateur contract... there are better options out there.

Sami Al-Nono
Awesome name... but very little pedigree, last recorded playing for Preußen Münster in the fourth tier of the Bundesliga. He's also 31 years of age, so again as far as striking options go Attal and Keshkesh look like better options.


Players we could have a shot at:

Tamer Abu Taha:
This player is an Arab-Israeli but unlike many of his compatriots I have found no record of him ever playing for an Israeli national side at youth level. Abu Taha is currently a member of Hamburg SV's youth set-up and will turn 18 in August. I don't know much about his situation because I can't read Hebrew... so if one of our loyal readers can, perhaps you'll be able to shed more light on this particular player.

We've spoken about him before and shown you his youtube highlights. This guy has game, and would be a huge addition. Apparently, he was discovered by ex-national team coach Nicola Shahwan but there has yet to be a move on the part of the PFA.

Great name with even greater hair. Corona has signed on with Puebla of the Mexican Primera this season and it seems that his stock is rising. He plays centrally as a defender or midfielder which could make him the ideal replacement for Edgardo Abdala. Another player who has been ignored by our coaching staff and Football Association.

Players who would gladly join:

Recently signed for Lebanese reigning champions Al-Ahed. So he'll be playing in the AFC Cup next year. He's reputed for his lightning fast speed and has said that playing for Palestine's national team is a dream of his.

Played for Al-Ahed last year but will be taking his talents to the beaches of Tyre with recently promoted Al-Salam Sour. Only scored three goals last season while limited to mostly cameo appearances. He's 24 and is known for his physical presence at the forward position

There are many other Lebanese-based players we can talk about but these are two of the more prominent ones. Anyone with a more in-depth knowledge of these players and the Lebanese League feel free to comment below.

There are also players based in Syria, which has one of the stronger leagues in the Middle East. The most notable are Deab Al-Majzoub (Al-Wathba) & Ammar Al-Abtah (Al-Shorta).

He's perhaps the best Palestinian player based in the Middle East and hasn't even earned a call up! Currently plays in the Qatari Stars League for Alkharitiyat SC and is a mainstay in the squad despite only being 22. He plays centrally in the midfield although he is known for his ability to roam and pick his spots. Has also expressed his desire in an interview to play for Palestine and lamented the fact that two Palestinians Wissam Rizq and Bilal Abdelrahman went unnoticed and represented Qatar instead.

Anyone else we may have missed? Let us know with a comment below.

Bezaz organizes pre-WAFF training camp


National team manager Moussa Bezaz is expected to organize a training camp ahead of the September clashes against Yemen and Iraq. The training camp is expected to be organized in the Jordanian capital Amman most likely after the completion of Ramadan and EId Al-Fitr celebrations. Bezaz is expected to call up the following players to join a contingent of the best players based in the West Bank:

Ramzi Saleh (GK, Al-Merreikh, Sudan), Mohammed Samara (CM, Arab Contractors, Egypt), Ahmed Keshkesh (M/ST, Wehdat, Jordan), Fahed Attal (ST, Wehdat, Jordan), Abdelatif Bahdari (CB, Wehdat, Jordan), Majed Abusidu (RB, unattached, Kuwait), Imad Zatara (M, Syrianska, Sweden), Mohammed Shatreet (M, JA Drancy, France), Roberto Bishara (CB/LB, Palestino, Chile),

Bezaz has taken a particular interest in Hernan Madrid who transfered to Wadi Al-Nes recently and is expected to evaluate the player during the first weeks of the season (which starts tomorrow). Madrid's natural position is centreback but due to his superior touch he is expected to be deployed in a holding role in midfield. Bezaz could be looking to have him fill this role with the national team in an attempt to effectively break up play in the midfield.

Palestine vs Sudan: Highlights


We apologize for the delay... But we have finally found a video from last month's friendly against Sudan. Click to enjoy Fahed Attal's sweet setup of Mohammed Jamal.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Transfer Talk: Abusidu to Al-Faisaly?


According to Jordanian outlets Al-Dustour and Al-Raie it seems that Palestine wingback Majed Abusidu could be playing for Jordanian League Champions Al-Faisaly next year. Abusidu who is available on a bosman was previously linked with a move to Emirati side Sharjah. It now seems, however, that that move has fallen through and that Abusidu would be willing to move to Jordan rather than renew his contract with Tadamon who were relegated to the Kuwaiti First Division last month.

If Abusidu does make the move, it would make him part of only a handful of Palestinian players to play for Al-Faisaly. Fadi Lafi had played for the team for a season, after years of enduring abuse from the Faisaly Ultras while with Shabab Al-Ordon and Al-Wehdat (fans used to chant: Fadi Lafi, you have no honor! فادي لافي شرف ما في). Shareef Adnan who finally appeared in a Palestine Jersey against Iraq last year also played for the club intermittently between 2008 and 2010. The fans have also been known for their anti-Palestinian chants: Chanting "divorce her, divorce her" (imploring King Abdullah II to divorce his Palestinian wife- Queen Rania) and more controversially during the derby match against Wehdat sparking a riot with racist chanting (Dirt, Dirt, Dirt, F@## your mother Palestine طين طين طين ك امك يا فلسطين). If the move does materialize it would most certainly be a coup for the Jordanian side but it would remain to be seen how the fans would take to Abusidu.

Asia to retain 4.5 berths for 2014 World Cup


According to AFC President Mohammed bin Hammam, the Asian continent is set to retain its 4.5 qualifying spots for the next edition of the World Cup. When queried about a potential reduction Bin Hammam was defiant that FIFA had no intentions of reducing AFC's quota of teams:

"Absolutely not. Asia's places in the World Cup are fully protected. There is no question of any reduction in our quota."

The draw for AFC qualifying is set to be conducted 385 days from now- July 31st, 2011 in Brazil, the host country of the 2014 World Cup. The first round of matches, in which Palestine is expected to compete in, is set to be delayed yet again. Originally, the AFC wanted to move forward with the first round of matches this October using the 2010 qualifying format. FIFA, however, protested this decision due to the fact that FIFA rankings and co-effecients were ignored. The AFC decided to give previous World Cup participants byes into the 3rd round of qualifying. Had they gone with FIFA rankings Uzbekistan would have received a bye at the expense of Saudi Arabia.

FIFA, keen to avoid a repeat of the most horrendously complex and bias qualification process in the world forced the AFC to delay the start of qualifying to mid-2011. The AFC had wanted to schedule the first games in March, but will not be able to do that now. October 2011 seems to be the probable date for the first matchday mirroring the start date of October 2007 for 2010 World Cup qualifying.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Transfer News: Ramzi Saleh completes shock transfer to Al-Merreikh

"The weather is lovely here." Ramzi Saleh expresses his love for all things Sudanese.

After months of speculation, Ramzi Saleh has finally left Egypt's Al-Ahly and has joined Al-Merreikh on a free transfer. This despite various formal offers from Egyptian club Ittihad Alexandria (Last week it seemed he was to be included in a swap deal for ACN 2010 Golden Boot winner Gedo), Zamalek, and Saudi powerhouse Al-Hilal. Ramzi Saleh said that despite the interest from other clubs he had given President Jamal Al-Wali his word and wanted to stay true to his promises. And if you believe everything Atlas Sport prints... Ramzi wants Sudanese citizenship and thinks Omar Al-Bashir is a swell guy.

In more uplifting news Fahed Attal has joined Jordanian Cup Champions Wehdat on a one-year $50,000 contract.

WAFF draw kind to Palestine


The draw for the West Asian Football Federation Championships was conducted a couple of days ago. 9 teams were drawn into three groups and for once, Palestine looks to have had lady luck by its side. The groups are as follows:

Group A:
Iran, Oman, Bahrain

Group B:
Jordan, Kuwait, Syria

Group C:
Iraq, Palestine, Yemen

The competition begins on September 24th and ends on October 3rd. Three group winners and the best runner up will advance to the semifinals. Palestine will play its first game on the 27th of September against Yemen and will then face Iraq two days later.