Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
The whole team though should be credited for the brave, confident display in both the Sudan and Libya games, especially considering the disaster the first game was.
Takes me back to the 2002 Arab Cup where we played beautiful football, and got results. Onwards!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Starting XI (4-4-2): Saidawi ©, Harbi, Dheeb, Al-Masri, Fares, Zatara, Khader Yousef, Ismail, Nu’man; Salem, Alyan
Substitutions: El-Khatib <-> Nu’man // Abugharqud <-> Salem // Fares <-> Obeid
Goals: Zatara 88'
What it means: Palestine still have a chance to progress to the semifinal round. Jordan’s 0-0 draw with Sudan complicates matters for all in the group. Palestine will need to win by two goals and have other results in the group go their way if they are to progress.
Recap: A much more composed and professional display from Jamal Mahmoud’s men earned them a 1-1 draw against a side ranked 102 places above them. Palestine’s game against Jordan was marked by a lack of discipline and hot headedness. The refereeing in the last game left a lot to be desired but the mark of a good team is one that stays calm and overcomes hardship- Al-Fursan did that today. The first half saw Palestine create a fair share of chances the best was an interchange between Alyan and Zatara that saw the latter flash his shot wide. Alyan also went close but fired his shot straight at the Libyan keeper. Libya would go up a goal five minutes before the break-Khaled Salem lost the ball in the opposing box resulting in a swift counter. Palestine’s defence cut out the immediate danger but Ihaab Boussefi was free on the edge of the box. His shot was well placed, hitting the inside of the post en route to goal. Palestine started the second half by pressing aggressively in search of an equalizer. The approach worked as Ahmed Alwani clattered into Khaled Salem to prevent him from clean through on goal. The referee sent Alwani off and Palestine made the most of their one-man advantage- completely dominating proceedings in the second half. As the seconds ticked away though, it seemed that Libya would improbably hold on. Haitham Dheeb's powerful header somehow stayed out of goal and substitute Ali El-Khatib had a shot blocked off the line. It was not to be. Zatara- who had been excellent throughout- latched on to a ball in the box and expertly placed it behind Samir Aboud.
What I liked: The team's resilience is a reminder as to why Palestine is nicknamed Al-Fedai'e (The Fighters). Things went very wrong tonight but they managed to rebound and get themselves a draw. After a very temperamental performance against Jordan- Palestine went the entire match without collecting a single booking (ed. There was a scuffle between Zatara and Saad- Zatara may have been carded for that it was hard to tell) despite the constant diving and baiting of the Libyan players.
What I didn't like: Palestine need to be more clinical in their finishing. They had more chances tonight and could have won the game. A special mention has to go to those ugly Peak jersey Red with yellow and green trim. It looks like something a waiter would wear in an Asian-themed restaurant. From a functional point of view the solid black numbering makes it very hard to identify the players.
Atef Abu Bilal: He's been the forgotten man under Jamal Mahmoud despite good form with his club side Shabab Al-Dhahrieh. If I were to venture a guess it might have something to do with him shirking defensive responsibilities.
1. Jordan 4 points, 4-1 // 2. Sudan 4 points 1-0 // 3. Libya 1 point 1-2 // 4. Palestine 1 point 2-5
Palestine must win by at least 2 goals and hope Jordan wins or draws against Libya. Palestine could progress with Libya winning but would need to make up their -3 goal differential.
What's Next: Palestine face Sudan on Saturday, December 17 at the Al-Rayyan Stadium (remember that place?). Kickoff is at 1430 GMT.
What: Pan-Arab Games (Group C Match)
When: December 14, 2011 [Today]
Where: Gharafa Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Kick-off: 16.30 GMT
TV: Al-Jazeera Sport // Al-Kass TV
25/8/1999 Palestine 2:2 Libya
Palestine scored the quickest goal in the history of the Pan-Arab Games to take a 1-0 lead through Ibrahim Munasarah. Saeb Jendeya scored his first (and only) international goal deep into injury time. The 40-yard screamer ensured Palestine would qualify for the semifinals of the 1999 Pan Arab Games.
Palestine 1-4 Jordan
Libya 0-1 Sudan
Palestine and Libya suffered similar fates when the teams kicked off Group C on Sunday. Palestine fell victim to a lack of concentration giving up three goals from set pieces despite playing some attractive football in the first half. Libya was organized and defended well against Sudan but a moment of madness allowed Sudan to nick a goal deep in the second half. That goal would prove to be the decider as Libya failed to capitalize on their scoring chances late in the game.
The Opponent: Libya has never been known for its footballing prowess. Its most famous footballer is still Saadi Al-Qadhafi who took nepotism and despotism to another level. With a new flag and new uniforms free of the Qadhafis favorite color Libya managed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations. Manager Marcos Paqueta has fashioned a side that emphasizes organization and defensive stoutness. Libya seem to lack a real poacher in front of goal- the three forwards they called up for their final CAN qualifier had a meager 8 goals in 63 combined caps. That said, this team is more than capable of grinding out a result; In qualifying for CAN 2012, Libya followed the traditional roadmap drawing all their away games and winning all their home ties. Looking ahead, facing Libya might be good preparation for a potential meeting with Korea DPR in the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup.
Reshuffled Line-up: Palestine will be without Ismail Amour and Husam Abu Saleh after they both picked up red cards against Jordan. Ahmed Harbi is expected to take Abu Saleh's place at right back which would leave Mahmoud with a choice of who to play alongside Haitham Dheeb. It could be Mohammed Al-Masri if he has recovered from the injury he picked up in the 1-0 win over Bahrain. If not, the matter gets a little more complicated- he could field Nadim Barghouthi- who joined up with the national team after training camp or he could opt to play Murad Ismail in defence. There could be more changes further up the pitch with Jamal Mahmoud promising to deal with players he deemed as 'complacent'.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
That was a bad game. Thats it. You can prepare for months and have the best players at your disposable, at the end its the 90 minutes on the grass that determine the result. Like Bassil, I fumed everytime the commentator said "reserve" side. You can't have 5 starters in all lines and call it a reserve side!
We were beaten by training-camp set pieces - Adnan Hamad does his homework, he knows our two key centre backs are absent - and got hot-headed and collapsed. Though I have to admit, even when the score was 3-1 I still thought we had a chance because the players moved the ball around and constantly created chances. It was overshadowed by the scoreline of course, but there was a positive flow of play. In the last 20 minutes, the players' physical fitness gave way and it slowed down.
Mahmoud has to fix the set-piece problem for the Libya match, they will probably focus on those after seeing our vulnerability. Khaled Salem is in form, and showed he can very much reach the goal. I see no reason why winning tomorrow is not possible.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Toufic Ali: Wadi al Nes and Palestine Olympic goalkeeper - Called up to senior side for Pan Arab Games.
Jawwal presents itself as the "sponsor of Professionals." The campaign has star players delivering the message in colloquial Arabic to the broader audience: Work on achieving ambitious goals. A positive message, which I think is much needed among youth in Palestine, and this is not just from a sports perspective.
The sub-message - winning is not everything - could address fan tensions and unsportsmanlike behavior among players. I just wonder how effective these campaigns are. One thing is for sure, this is the first such campaign seen in Palestine.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
The draw for the 2012 Challenge Cup was held today and lady luck has smiled on Palestine placing it in Group A alongside hosts Nepal, 2010 Finalists Turkmenistan, and the Maldives.
It will be a trickier proposition for teams in Group B which includes 2010 winners Korea DPR, 2008 winners India, 2006 winners (and perennial semifinalist) Tajikistan, and an improving Philippines side.
The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals. Palestine will face Nepal on March 8th, Turkmenistan on March 1oth, and the Maldives on March 12th. Players will start with a clean disciplinary slate but Abdelatif Bahdari and Ismail Amour will not be available against Nepal after picking up two yellows in the qualifying round.
Palestine will be facing off against Turkmenistan and The Maldives for the first time in its history. The team has one meeting against Nepal- a 0-0 draw in Kathmandu in 2009- during 2010 Challenge Cup qualifying.
Palestine's best showing in this tournament came in 2006 when they advanced to the quarterfinals of the original 16-team tournament. Al-Fursan were the top scorers in that tournament behind Fahed Attal's 8 goals, which earned him the Golden Boot. Palestine withdrew from qualifying in 2008 when the team was refused exit visas by Israeli authorities. They reentered 2010 qualifying, earning two draws but were eliminated by virtue of an inferior goals scored record.
Turkmenistan and Maldives are developing associations participating in the Challenge Cup. Although the AFC has classified this tournament for emerging associations India, Maldives, Myanmar, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan (developing associations) as well as Korea DPR (a developed association) have all been allowed to participate.
The winner of this tournament will advance directly to the 2015 Asian Cup which will be held in Australia.