Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What we learned: Indonesia vs. Palestine

1. Palestine has depth in some positions
Ali El-Khatib's first start showed that Palestine has an array of attacking midfielders to choose from. Increased options means added competition and a guarantee that whomever starts for the national team doesn't do so out of default. It was disappointing not to see Abdelhamid Abuhabib get his first senior cap. He is different than the other options in the attacking midfield; less direct, but better at keeping possession and tracking back and is by far the best distributor in the WBPL.

2. ... and a dearth in others
As far as holding midfielders go only 3 players have played in that position in the past two years: Houssam Wadi, Khader Youssef, & Murad Ismail. Wadi wasn't in the squad for this one so it meant that the latter two started. There has been an influx of talent into the WBPL this offseason so it would be interesting to see if new players can force their way into the squad (perhaps the versatile Luab Kayal can fill this void).

3. Ramzi Saleh's job is safe
Mohammed Shbair has the reflexes- as evidenced by his two penalty saves in 10 caps- but is raw. He needed to hold on to the free kick that resulted in the first goal, on the third goal he could have cut out the danger if he was quicker off his line. These are things that can be fixed with professional development but until Shbair gets that his performances will be inconsistent. Hopefully the PFA can talk to Smouha FC and secure the release of Ramzi Saleh for the Challenge Cup.

4. ...so is Abusidu's
A fullback's first duty to the team is to make sure his positioning is sound. Abusidu might not have the attacking prowess of Harbi or Shareef Adnan but you'll never see him in a panicked run trying to chase a winger that has blown past him. Abu Saleh was all over the place in defence and it is perplexing how he was handed a start after an unsure performance against Afghanistan.

5. A new manager is needed ASAP
The most disappointing aspect of this game was how the team gave up its lead four goals in 20 minutes after having a 1-o lead. The team needs to learn how to manage these situations better, it might not be what the fans want but the team needs a manager who is committed to defensive discipline. Palestine is capable of playing attractive football but it can't afford to neglect its defensive duties whilst doing so. A well drilled team that concedes few goals can do great things in Asia- just look at the success Korea DPR has enjoyed over the past three years.