Sunday, December 30, 2012

India to host Palestine in the new year


Indian sources are confirming a friendly on February 6th to be played in picturesque Guwahati. This will mark the first time the two sides meet as they prepare for the coming March's 2014 AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers.

Palestine has frequently played South Asian sides - against whom it has a positive record. India, however, are a cut above in their neighborhood, winning the 2008 edition of the Challenge Cup (albeit failing to make it out of the group stage in the next two attempts.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

WAFF Championship Wrap-Up

Mahmoud has revolutionized Palestine's style of play
It has been a week since Palestine valiantly exited the 2012 WAFF Championship at the group stage. Along the way, the team managed to thrill the fans in Kuwait, record their first ever victory at the tournament, and completely change the way Palestinian Football is perceived.

What is obvious to anyone who has watched the team over the past month is that it is now subscribed to playing proactively. The bunker ball tactics of years past is no longer a hallmark of Palestinian football and the inferiority complex that hung over the squad when faced with West Asian opposition has been eviscerated.

It goes without saying that this is a team still addressing its weaknesses and flaws- and some of those flaws are to blame for a group stage exit. Despite this setback and failure to progress past the group stage at the Arab Cup Jamal Mahmoud has won aplenty in his first year as manager; the team reached the semifinals of the Pan Arab Games, the semifinals of the Challenge Cup, and lifted the Nakba Cup on home soil.

With twenty games under his belt, Mahmoud will need to use the next year to determine how to make his squad stronger. The weaknesses are obvious: the team lacks depth at left back, has yet to find its strongest centre back partnership, and will need to find a striker with good aerial presence.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rapid Reaction: Oman 2:1 Palestine (2012 WAFF Championship)

Imad Zatara pulls one back in spectacular style. 


Palestine Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Toufic Ali; Fares, Mustafa, Mahdi, Norambuena; Kawre', Khader Yousef; Abu Saleh, Abuhabib, Zatara; Abugharqud

Goals: Imad Zatara 40'

Preview: Palestine v. Oman (2012 WAFF Championship)

What: 2012 WAFF Championship (Group Stage)
When: December 14th, 2012 
Where: Ali Al-Salem Al-Sabah Stadium, Kuwait City
Kickoff: 14:25 GMT

TV: Kuwait Sport, Abu Dhabi Sport, Al Jazeera Sport, Al-Kass
Streams: http://shoof.alkass.net/shoof/?live=2

Previous Encounters: None

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rapid Reaction: Palestine 1:0 Lebanon (2012 WAFF Championship)

Palestine celebrate their first ever victory at a WAFF Championship

Palestine Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Shbair (C); Fares, Mustafá, Mahdi, Norambuena; Sheikhqasem, Khader Yousef; Abu Jazar, Nu'man, Zatara; Abugharqud 

Highlights

Goals: Abugharqud 74'

Cautions: Sheikhqasem 68' Norambuena 88' (time wasting)

Substitutions: Abu Saleh <-> Abu Jazar 58' // Al-Koori <-> Kawre' 69' // Abugharqud <-> Jarun 80'

What a match! What a performance! Thank you Jamal Mahmoud! Thank you Fursan!

Lebanon were looking for a ticket to the second round today and coming into this tournament after fantastic form in World Cup Qualifiers - they were the favored side on paper in the Levantine derby. After their 1-0 win against Oman, a win against Palestine would all but guarantee them the top spot in the group - not least after Oman beat Kuwait 2-0 in the day's earlier fixture.

Tuning in, I was hoping Lebanon would be complacent/cautious and get caught off-guard - and that Jamal Mahmoud would capitalize on that. I was not disappointed. I know Bassil will pick the game apart tactically in his diligent "rapid" reaction post, so I'll leave those details to him. But I have to comment on what was quite positively a masterclass of a performance. And I do not use that word lightly. After years of following this team, through modest ups and frequent downs, seeing what unfolded on the pitch made me wish all Palestinians, whereever they may be - football fans or not, were tuning in to see what kind of a team they have representing them.

Mohammed Eshbair boldly attacked every ball in the air and was cool and composed throughout. He made us forget that Ramzi had to leave the squad. A captain's performance.

Zatara was a machine. He was all over the place! He kept the pressure on the opposition from the very start and when he had the ball, he rarely lost it. It was his maneuvering on the left flank that set Alexis up to give that game winning pass to Abougharqoud. If only he scored on that open net in injury time, it would have been the icing on the cake.

Ashraf Noman brought his excellent club form with him tonight and was a menace to the Lebanese goal.

Eyad Abougharqoud - I'll be honest, I was not too enthusiastic about him before the match. I didn't think much of him as a "poacher", at least on the national level. I thought that well at least he does an excellent job at redirecting the ball towards other attacking players.

Then came his goal....A strikers finish! And that was after he got the wind knocked out of him in earlier contact with a Lebanese player. What a fighter.

Alexis - Man of the Match. I believe that his performance today was his "Kettlun moment" if youd allow me to coin a phrase. Palestinian fans are going to remember his name forever. Not only did he alleviate our left-back problem, but he provided that brilliant pass that cracked the code of the Lebanese defense. The fighting performance he - along with the other defenders - gave to defend the lead shows that he is a Fedae'i through and through.

Jamal Mahmoud - The man knows how to read an opponent and he knows how to play his cards. He clearly instructed the players to keep up the pressure throughout, especially in the midfield. His substitutions were spot on, replenishing the midfield and putting in Omar Jarun as the 5th defender when we needed him. I've always loved how he is mostly standing on the sideline screaming instructions - most players need that kind of support. And I do not know what he tells the team in the locker room, but I'd sure love to witness. In Jamal we trust!

The team as a whole put in a solid performance keeping Lebanon's dangerous midfielders/strikers at bay.

The 90 minutes today reminded me of everything great about Palestinian football: (a) The technical renaissance and (b) that fighting spirit - which we used to rely on when facing the likes of Iraq and such in 2004...we still got it.

I'll end my gushing post with this epic favorite song of mine - which maybe fits the context well.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2014 Challenge Cup qualification: Palestine drawn alongside Bangladesh, Nepal, & NMI

Palestine have been drawn in Group D for the upcoming 2014 Challenge Cup qualification tournament due to be held from March 2-6, 2013. Five group winners alongside the two best runners-up will qualify for the 2014 Finals in the Maldives. Palestine's group will be hosted by Nepal and includes Bangladesh and Challenge Cup debutants Northern Mariana Islands who became an Associate Member of the AFC earlier this year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Preview: Palestine vs. Lebanon (2012 WAFF Championship)

Roda Antar: Lebanon's Captain 
What: 2012 WAFF Championship (Group Stage)

When: Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Where: Peace & Friendship Stadium, Kuwait City

Kickoff: 16.30 GMT

TV: Al-Jazeera Sport (Global), Jordan Sport, Kuwait Sport, Abu Dhabi Sport 1
Streams: Stream 1 // Stream 2





Previous Results: 


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rapid Reaction: Kuwait 2:1 Palestine (2012 WAFF Championship)

Yousef Nasser gets a helping hand for Kuwait's first goal


Palestine Starting XI (4-4-2): Saleh (C); Fares, Mustafá, Jarun, Abu Jazar; Abu Saleh, Khader Yousef, Kawre', Zatara; Abuhabib, Ashraf Nu'man  

Highlights

Goals: Ashraf Nu'man 45'

Substitutions: Jarun <-> Mahdi 70' // Abuhabib <-> Abugharqud 73' // Khader Yousef <-> Al-Halman 90'

Cautions: Jarun, Abu Saleh, Ramzi Saleh, Khader Yousef*

*(Was yellow carded twice although his first was incorrectly given to Abuhabib)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Preview: Kuwait v. Palestine (2012 WAFF Championship)



Palestine can ill afford another lackadaisical start 


What: WAFF Championship (Group Stage)

When: Saturday, December 8th, 2012
Where: Peace & Friendship Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait
Kickoff: 14:45 GMT

TV: Al-Jazeera Sport Global
Stream(s): Stream 1

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Qatar Training Camp Wrap-up



Al-Fursan have wrapped up an eventful three-week preparatory period ahead of the 2012 WAFF Championship. Today, the team departs the Qatari capital for Kuwait where they will start intensively planning for their battle against the hosts and holders. Thusfar, luck has not been on Palestine's side as a combination of life under occupation, logistical problems, injury, and the Saudi Pro League will rob them of several key players.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fahed Attal speaks to FIFA.com

(AFP)

The Golden Boy gave an interview to FIFA.com in which he touched on his discovery by Azmi Nassar, his fondest memories, his professional career and the state of Palestinian football among other topics. He recalled his 2006 goal vs. Singapore as his best moment and his recent injury spate as his worst.

See the post below to find out how you can get a Attal #10 Palestine supporter shirt.

Palestine Supporter Shirts

A couple of months ago the good people at Subside Sports asked for my help in securing the Palestine National Team Jersey. Upon realizing that the team does not have a legit sponsor we decided to design supporter t-shirts with the names of the most popular Palestinian players emblazoned on the back.


Also Available: Al-Bahdari (#5) & Sarsak (#92)

We are happy to announce that the shirts are now available on the Subside Sports official website; just in time for the holiday shopping season. You can access the Palestine page of the Subside Sports website here

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sebastian Tagliabué to acquire Palestinian citizenship

Sebastian Tagliabué: Al-Shabab's leading scorer

Al-Shabab (KSA) striker Sebastian Tagliabué has revealed that he is set to receive Palestinian citizenship sometime in the new year. The move is an effort by his club to register him as an Asian player and free up one of their three international player slots. In an interview with Al-Arabiya's Fil Marma Tagliabué provided very little information in regards to his heritage and then went on a tangent (at least according to the translation- which could have been botched) about how he thought Muslims only lived in the Gulf countries.

According to the player, it was the club who informed him of the opportunity and he seized it because he wants to continue playing for Al-Shabab. When asked about whether or not he would be interested in representing Palestine internationally, the Argentine forward responded: "Sure, if the opportunity presents itself, why not?" 

Challenge Cup host decided; changes forthcoming

The Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Competitions Committee met in Kuala Lumpur last week to discuss a number of matters relating to the continent's tournaments. After a murky bid process that saw India and Tajikistan fail to make the shortlist for unspecified reasons the committee was left to choose between the Philippines and the Maldives. The decision was made to go with the Maldives not because of better infrastructure or a track record of success but because the powers that be felt guilty for awarding the 2012 edition to Nepal.

As a result, the Maldives will not take part in qualifying this March having secured an automatic berth as the tournament's hosts. Also not participating are Cambodia who have cited financial difficulty and holders Korea DPR who have already secured a spot at the 2015 Asian Cup by winning the 2012 edition.