Monday, August 31, 2015

Rapid Reaction: Lebanon 0:0 Palestine (Friendly)

Palestine Starting XI (4-4-1-1): Toufic Ali; Alexis Norambuena, Haitham Dheeb (C), Tamer Salah, Fadi Salbees; Sameh Mar'aba, Pablo Tamburrini, Mohammed Darwish, Tamer Seyam; Abdelhamid Abuhabib; Matías Jadue. 

Substitutions: Jonathan Cantillana <-> Abdelhamid Abuhabib 57' // Khader Youssef <-> Pablo Tamburrini 57' // Matías Jadue <--> Amir Abu Nahyeh 77' 

More after the jump... 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Preview: Palestine face Lebanon in Sidon ahead of UAE qualifier

Palestine 4:0 Rot Weiss Frankfurt
A two week camp in Frankfurt, Germany saw the national team take in two Bundesliga games in between three scrimmage wins against Regionalliga opposition by score lines of 2-0, 2-1, and 4-0, respectively.

The experience of watching top class football and visiting the trophy-laden headquarters of the German FA should have the team in a positive mindset ahead of their clash against the Emiratis on the 8th of September. The scrimmages will also have helped the team gel- many of Abdel Nasser Barakat's charges hadn't played international football at this level before the game against Saudi Arabia in June.

More after the jump...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Palestine start prep for crucial UAE qualifier in Germany

Palestine get training underway in Frankfurt 
Palestine flew to Frankfurt this past weekend to start the preparations for next month's crunch 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against group favorites UAE. The camp, which will run until the end of the month, will pit Palestine against teams from the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga.

National team manager Abdel Nasser Barakat is expected to join the team later on this week after attending a summit for national team bosses in Kuala Lumpur.

This trip comes on the heels of an internal training camp that featured a larger pool of players. It's unclear if any additions from the domestic player pool would be made to this squad.

Palestine's foreign contingent will not be participating in this camp as most of them are otherwise engaged with their clubs. One player, Sweden-based Ahmed Kanjo, was with the national team in the West Bank but has since been forced to pull out with an injury.

According to Kamel Gharbi of Korapal, Alexis Norambuena has been invited to participate in the two week expedition. The right back has been without a club since GKS Belchatow released him during the close season. An achilles injury saw him miss all but the initial six games of the season including Palestine's maiden AFC Asian Cup voyage.

More after the jump...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ahli Al-Khaleel lift Palestine Cup in dramatic fashion

Ahli Al-Khaleel captain Khaldoun Al-Halman lifts Palestine Cup
For the first time in 15 years, Palestine has a champion that represents all professional clubs operating in the West Bank and Gaza. The match itself was touch and go and both legs only took place after delays and at the behest of FIFA, UEFA, and the AFC who intervened to stop Israel from preventing the freedom of movement of the players.

After a 0-0 draw in the first leg it seemed that Ittihad Shujaiyah had done enough to manage a positive result in their favor. Over the second half of that game, they were the better side as their West Bank counterparts struggled with the heat and conditions of the game.

For Ittihad Shujaiyah, the return fixture wasn't an away game at all. Fans of rival Shabab Al-Khaleel flooded the Ali Bin Hussein Stadium in Hebron to cheer for the Gazans, preferring them to represent Palestine in Asian competition in 2016.

Wael Mresat's first half goal gave Ahli a well-deserved advantage in the first half but a lack of clinical finishing left the door open for Shujaiyah. A perfectly good goal by Yassar Sabaheen was ruled out for offside early in the second half. The Gazan cup and league champions kept pushing and 20 minutes from time they were duly rewarded for their persistence with Ala'a Attieh scoring a critical away goal.

The fairy tale ending was not to be for Ittihad Shujaiyah. Deep into injury time Ahmed Maher's curling free kick sent Ahli Al-Khaleel onto Asia. It was an especially dramatic finish especially considering that the man of the moment had refused to be subbed out a mere 10 minutes earlier.

Click here for the full replay of the Palestine Second Cup leg

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ahli Al-Khaleel & Ittihad Shujaiyah meet with AFC Cup berth on the line

Palestine Cup Champions: There can be only one.

What: Palestine Cup Final 
When: August 6th // August 9th
Where: Yarmouk Stadium Gaza // Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium Al-Ram 

Inconsistent geography is one of the particularities of Palestinian football. Clubs that are top tier clubs compete in the West Bank, Gaza, and even Israeli leagues. So when it comes to determining the country's champion things can become quite tricky.  

Clubs competing in Gaza and the West Bank cannot compete against each other due to the realities on the ground. Gazan players face the same problems as the general public when it comes to entering and exiting the strip (the number of exit visas issued by Israel is around 4,000 a month- a tiny number considering the population of the area is well over 1 million) and this issue has prevented many a talented player from representing the national team. 

It's been 15 years since a club from the West Bank travelled to Gaza (or vice versa, for that matter) making this cup final an important one for a multitude of reasons. 

More after the jump....