Saturday, February 4, 2012

Winter 2012 Transfer Roundup

It was an unexpected but this has proven to be quite an eventful transfer window for Palestinian players. On the domestic front there was a coaching carrousel which saw defending champions Al-Am'ary dismiss Hisham Al-Zoabi alongside coaching changes at Shabab Al-Khaleel, Jabal Al-Mukaber, and Thaqafi Tulkarem. The aforementioned Al-Zoabi is now at Shabab Al-Khaleel while Samir Isa has had a homecoming of sorts returning to Jabal Al-Mukaber just six months after leaving them for Shabab Al-Khaleel.


Here is the complete round-up of all this past month's transfers: 



West Bank Premier League 


Samir Isa looking to revitalize a slumping Mukaber side made more than half a dozen signings leveraging his vast knowledge of Palestinian players on the other side of the Green Line. Three players arrived as bosman signings Majdi Khalaila (GK/ex-Hapoel Afula), Wasim Ghabariyeh (DF/ex-Bnei Sakhnin), and Wajdi Abu Younes (FW/ex-Kirayat Ata). All three players have proved to be huge hits making Kooora's Team of the Week at least once since the vuelta round started. Khalaila has been so impressive that there is talk of him joining the National Team setup ahead of the Challenge Cup.

Over at Isa's old club, new boss Hisham Al-Zoabi has been busy trying to inject much needed creativity in the midfield. Ayman Alhendi made the jump after finding his chances limited at Al-Am'ary while Adham Hadiya (MF/ex-Hapoel Kfar Saba) and Mohammed Abbas (FW/ex-Hapoel Kfar Kana). Hadiya has impressed the most out of the bunch with Fahed Attal on the receiving end of a lot of his precision passing.

Jordan Premier League 


Alaa Attieh, who had been Gaza's leading scorer last season, secured a much anticipated move abroad with Yarmouk. As our readers will already know Attieh has been on fire with Yarmouk scoring in two of his first three league games and adding another goal against Menshieh in the FA Cup. The young Gazan has played every minute of all five matches and has already helped lift Yarmouk out of the relegation zone. Unfortunately for Yarmouk, their contract with Attieh expires on the 30th of June; many have linked the player with a move to Wehdat in the offseason.

Persian Gulf Cup (Iranian Premier League)


Imad Zatara's impressive Pan-Arab Games campaign earned him a move to one of the strongest leagues in Asia. Since moving to Sanat Naft (nicknamed "The Brazilians" because of their similar kits) Zatara has played a total of 212 minutes over four games (was a starter twice). Having signed a short-term, incentive laden deal, it remains to be seen if Zatara will continue with the Abadan-based club next season.

Egyptian Premier League 


Mohammed Samara and Ramzi Saleh remained with their respective clubs but there were plenty of other Palestinians joining the strongest league in Africa. Al-Masry of Port Said attempted to sign Mohammed Saleh and Tareq Abughaimeh but that move fell through after it was revealed that the players did not have permission to participate in trials. For their part, Al-Masry made a low-ball offer to buy the players from Gaza Sport- suggesting a fee of 50% of the value of new contracts to be signed by the players.

Tareq Abughanaimeh has since undergone trials with Zamalek who have been rumored to be interested in keeping in him on as a member of their U21 squad.

Sadaqa Goalkeeper Fadi Jaber had also tried out for Zamalek but a move to the Cairo-based club never materialized.

One Palestinian player who will be at the Cairo-based club is 21 year-old Khaled Olyan. The Shabab Jabalaya striker secured a 4-month loan to the club's U21 side.

Also managing to secure a move is former Porto youth teamer Samir Badr who has signed with league leaders Harras Al-Hodoud on a three and a half year deal. Badr is currently a U20 USA international but will not take up a foreign slot since he will be registered as a Palestinian. The young goalkeeper has not yet been capped at senior level and faces stiff competition from Bill Hamid and a host of other talented goalkeepers. If things do not progress with the US national team we might see Badr apply to FIFA for a nationality switch (It is worth noting that the player's agent, Justin Stone, also represents Omar Jarun).

Ligat Ha'al (Israeli Premier League)


We've already covered Ali El-Khatib's controversial move to Hapoel Haifa in a previous post. According to a recent interview with Radio Israel the player claimed that all problems have been settled and that he had a release clause allowing him to walk away from the contract if he received an offer from abroad.

For his part, Khatib has played in two games since his transfer. He received his first start today against Hapoel Petah Tikva and scored the opener.