Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Palestine Jersey Designs

Had some time on my hands and the fan in me got to fooling around with photoshop. Here's what I think the National Team Jersey should look like- post your own templates/suggestions in the comments section.

Monday, September 24, 2012

WAFF Championship preparations take shape

National Team manager Jamal Mahmoud has announced that Palestine will play a total of four friendlies ahead of the 2012 WAFF Championship. The biennial tournament is slated to run from December 8-20 and will take place in Kuwait. Palestine have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Kuwait, Oman, and Lebanon.

According to Mahmoud, the FA will organize two friendlies in October with additional friendlies in November and December along with a two-week training before travelling to Kuwait. In the interim, Mahmoud will move to organize training sessions once every three days with select WBPL players to combat the “indifferent level of play” thus far.

More after the jump....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Breaking down Palestine's WAFF Group

Group A rivals, Kuwait won the 2010 edition at the first time of asking.

By all accounts Palestine lucked out in yesterday's 2012 WAFF Championship draw; that's not to say that they should be celebrating a first-ever semifinal berth just yet. Oman and Lebanon have shown themselves to be capable opponents over the past 12 months and their participation in the final round of AFC World Cup qualifying provides proof of their quality. That said, Oman and Lebanon are different propositions at home and their performances have been wildly inconsistent as result.

Lebanon, Oman, and Palestine have the ignominy of never registering a win at the WAFF Championship against a WAFF team (Lebanon has the sole victory:  2-0 over Kyrgyzstan at the inaugural event in 2000). Given how similar these three teams are in quality we could see a continuation of the trend.

A look at the home and away records of all the teams in Group A after the jump...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012 WAFF Championship Draw Announced

The draw for the 7th edition of the West Asian Football Federation Championship was announced today and not everything went totally to plan. The United Arab Emirates, in the midst of a rebuilding process after crashing out of World Cup Qualifying, submitted a request to enter their U-22 team. Their request was summarily rejected leaving the tournament with eleven teams instead of the planned twelve.

More analysis and the complete draw after the jump!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

De Penalty interviews Omar Jarun

Friend of the blog Juan Carlos Galindo recently interviewed National Team CB Omar Jarun for his blog De Penalty. Below are pertinent excerpts translated from Spanish. For those interested in Galindo's coverage of Palestinian Football his articles are available here, here, and here.  

Born in Kuwait and raised in the United States Omar Jarun is one of a handful of Palestinians playing professionally in Europe. The 29 year-old recently made the jump from Arka Gdynia, a side fighting to regain its place in the Ekstrakalassa (The Polish Premier Leage), to Sporting Charleroi of the Belgian Jupiler League. 

His first foray into football was as a forward, a position he played at the University of Memphis and later at the University of Dayton. He has since been converted into a ball playing center back. Nearly two meters tall, Jarun is excellent in the air and great at defending set pieces. 

Jarun came to Europe in 2009 after a stint with the Vancouver Whitecaps (where he played a key role in a title-winning team). His journey to Europe is heavily intertwined with former Czechoslovakian International, Petr Nemec, the man who signed him for Flota Swinoujscie. A year after landing in Poland he transfered to Pogon Szczecin where he was an intergal part of a magical Cup run that saw the First division side advance to the Final (only to lose to Alexis Norambuena's Jagellonia Bialystok). After a short stint with Tampa Bay FC of the NASL Jarun was reunited with Nemec at Arka Gdynia. Over the summer, Jarun moved on a Bosman to Sporting Charleroi, ending his three year stint in Poland. 

Jarun's first call-up to the National Team came in 2007, in a 2010 World Cup Qualifier against Singapore. Jarun had to wait until 2011 to receive his second cap but has since become an indispensable part of the defence under Moussa Bezaz and now Jamal Mahmoud. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

2012/13 WBPL Preview (Part II)

Yesterday we assessed the potential fortunes of the eight returning WBPL teams. Today, we'll be looking at how the four newly promoted teams will fare in their new surroundings: 

Ahli Al-Khaleel (AAK)

Key Man: Khaldoun Al-Halman

IN: Baha Dhiyab (GK/Jabal Al-Mukaber), Bashar Al-Sayed (DF/Shabab Al-Khaleel), Shadi Allan (MF/Hilal Al-Quds), Hatem Karim (DF/Hilal Al-Quds), Salah Al-Zubaidi (MF/Hilal Al-Quds), Ahmad Zakaria (FW/Shabab Al-Khadr), Abdesallam Darawsheh (MF/Maccabi Ahi Nazareth/ISR), Islam Qanawat (DF/Maccabi Ahi Nazareth/ISR), Hazem Al-Reikhawy (MF/Al-Am'ary)

OUT: Shadi Qawasmeh (GK/Retired), Bassam Armali (FW/Dalyat Umm Karmal/ISR)

Last Year: Champions, First Division 
2012/13: 3rd 

FP's take: Ahli Al-Khaleel were utterly dominant in the First Division last year notching up the best goal difference in the league thanks to a stingy defense that only gave up 19 goals over 22 games. The Reds also finished the season on a tear going undefeated in the final 13 games of the season. Equally impressive was their FA Cup run which saw them dispatch of two WBPL sides (Merkaz Tulkarem and Al-Am'ary) en-route to the semifinals where they lost to eventual champions Shabab Al-Dhahrieh. This is a side with unparalleled ambition who have just won back-to-back promotions as league champion. In preparing for their upcoming season with the big boys the front office spared no expense- Savvy veterans Bashar Al-Sayed, Shadi Allan, Hatem Karim, and Salah Al-Zubaidi all have domestic titles to their name. They may not have been the biggest stars for Hilal Al-Quds and Shabab Al-Khaleel but they have the experience and know what it takes to win. They also have a potential gem in Abdesallam Darawsheh who became an instant club legend after scoring a brace in a 3-2 win over crosstown rivals Shabab Al-Khaleel. 

Newly promoted clubs have been known to punch above their weight (see: Balata 2010/11) so picking them to finish third isn't all that unorthodox. There will be other teams in the mix for that spot, Tarji and Al-Dhahrieh come to mind, but if Khaldoun Al-Halman continues to mature as a goal scorer we like The Reds' chances of upsetting the established order this season. 

Islami Qalqilya (IQL)

Lu'ay Nassar: Terrorizing Keepers 

IN: Salah Bransi (GK/Al-Taybeh), Shadi Al-Shawbaki (FW/Merkaz Asker), Hamada Jebareen (MF/Jenin), Alaa Adekidek (MF/Ansar Al-Quds), Fadi Daha (Jalzun)

OUT: Alaa Yameen (DF/Balata)

Last Year: 2nd, First Division
2012/13: 9th

FP's take: Islami Qalqilya have elected to show faith in the squad that earned them promotion and scored a league-leading 51 goals (2.3 goals per game). We're tipping them to stay up with the consensus being that Lu'ay Nassar's goals will win the club 4-5 games this season. His goal scoring rate was off the charts last year- 22 league goals and 1 cup goal- and when Nassar isn't scoring the Two Mar'abahs (Sameh and Mohammed) can cause plenty of headaches. It won't be pretty but it will be enough to keep Islami in the top flight. 

Hilal Jericho (HAJ)

IN: Fadi Hasasneh (FW/Thaqafi Tulkarem), Mutasim Al-Eisawi (MF/Al-Eibadieh), Firas Abu Lu'ay (FW/Merkaz Ain Sultan), Mohammed Dhiyab (DF/Hapoel Tamra/ISR)

OUT: Adham Arar (MF/Al-Am'ary)

Last Year: 3rd, First Division 
2012/13: 12th 

FP's take: The most telling statistic: Hilal Jericho only managed 11 multi-goal games in 2011/12, their record in those games (6W 2D 3L). This is a side that was much more likely to get a result (5W 5D 0L) when the score resembled binary code. The fact of the matter is there is not enough talent on this squad to replicate the game plan in the top flight. 

Another worry for the team is that they'll always be the road team. For whatever reason, the PFA isn't using the Jericho Stadium to host games so Hilal will be facing trips of over an hour to get to most venues. 

Jenin (JEN)

IN: Imad Badarna (MF/Bnei Sakhnin/ISR), Hassan Abu Attieh (FW/Merkaz Jenin), Hamudeh Bishara (DF/Balata), Samaha Jebareen (DF/Shabab Al-Dhahrieh)

OUT: Hamada Jebareen (MF/Islami Qalqilya), Mohammed Taha (MF/Tobas)

Last Year: 4th, First Division 
2012/13: 10th

FP's take: Just like their counterparts Islami Qalqilya and Ahli Al-Khaleel Jenin is basking in the success of consecutive promotions. On paper Jenin should get relegated alongside Hilal Jericho but Jenin are a mentally strong bunch they recovered from recovering from a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Ahli Al-Khaleel and a 1-0 loss to Hilal Jericho in Weeks 18 and 19 in spectacular fashion by winning a 4-3 shootout over Islami Qalqilya and thumping Silwan 7-0. This is a side that will be unpredictable, inconsistent, and frustrating to watch but they have enough grit to survive. They got off to a good start yesterday by recording a come from behind victory against Islami Qalqilya. If they can roll with the punches like they did last year they'll live to see another WBPL season.