Friday, December 30, 2016

Five Wishes for Palestinian Football in 2017

With the new year upon us here are our five wishes for Palestinian Football in 2017...


1. Qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup

Before qualifying, Palestine will have to find out their opponents and things are still up in the air with regards to the draw. Kuwait has received yet another extension from the Asian Football Confederation to sort out their FIFA suspension and could yet be replaced. This past week, Guam withdrew citing financial difficulty and are set to be replaced by Nepal.

Qualifying in 2017 (read: before the last match day in March 2018) is paramount for Palestine and they will hope to avoid the pitfalls of cross continental travel and rivals pulling a Saudi Arabia. That said, qualifying with relative ease is a realistic target.

Palestine has a good chance of drawing a Pot 1 team in rebuilding mode (Jordan, Oman, Bahrain) or a team of equal to lesser ability (Philippines, Kyrgyzstan).

Based on their talent and play in the previous round Palestine should be confident of taking care of business and realizing their full potential. Anything short of qualifying for the finals in the UAE would be a failure.

Click below for the next four wishes....

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thoughts on Palestine's 3-0 win over Palestino

Palestine's national team played a somewhat impromptu friendly against CD Palestino earlier this month and when the dust settled Al-Fida'i  emerged comfortable 3-0 winners.

Here are three quick takeaways from the national team's win...




Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Shabab Al-Khalil's potential AFC Cup group revealed

Shabab Al-Khalil is loaded with Palestinian NT players
This morning, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) conducted the draw for the 2017 AFC Cup. This edition marks the fourth consecutive participation for Palestinian clubs. 

It was announced yesterday that Shabab Al-Khalil would play Al-Suwaiq in a two legged play-off for a spot in the group stages. 

Those matches are slated for Monday, January 30th and Tuesday, February 7th. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Shabab Al-Khalil to face Al-Suwaiq for spot in AFC Cup

Al-Suwaiq: Oman Pro League Runners-up in 2015/16
The Asian Football Confederation has revealed, following a draw, that Shabab Al-Khalil will face Omani side Al-Suwaiq in the AFC Cup playoff stage.

Shabab Al-Khalil will host the first leg of the encounter on January 30th, 2017. The return is slated for Al-Seeb Stadium, the following Tuesday, February 7th.

In last year's edition, Omani clubs Fanja and Oruba travelled to Palestine meaning we are unlikely to see Shabab's home game moved to a neutral venue.

Al-Ahli and Al-Dhahrieh went undefeated against Omani opposition during that tournament. Securing 3-3 and 1-1 draws away while emerging victorious by scores of 2-1 and 2-0, respectively.

The winner of the match will progress to the group stages of the 2017 AFC Cup. The draw for the group stage is set for December 13th.

Al-Suwaiq have had a horrid time this season collecting a meager 13 points in the first half of the season from 13 games. At the time of writing they are hovering just two points above the automatic relegation places and a whopping 13 points back of leaders Al-Shabab Club.

For them to replicate their 48 point haul from last season they would have collect 35 of the 39 points on offer in the second leg of the season.

For their part, Shabab AL-Khalil have also gotten off to a wobbly start this season. After lifting silverware in the form of the Yasser Arafat Cup (a poisoned chalice of sorts as no team has won the preseason tourney and league in the same year), Shabab fired their coaching staff, and benched their star goalkeeper Toufic Ali.

Things have picked for Shabab since. A 3-0 win over leaders Thaqafi Tulkarem seemed to signal an end to their problems in front of goal.

More information on the 2017 AFC Cup draw can be found here.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Palestine loses automatic spot in AFC Cup


The AFC Competitions Committee has revealed allocations for upcoming Asian competitions in 2017 and 2018. The Member Associations ranking take into account results of the national team (30%) and club teams in Asian competitions (70%). For the latest period (2014-16), Palestine's results (somehow inexplicably) saw them drop from the 25th to the 28th spot.

The Competitions Committee determined that the next ranking would only take club results into account.

Palestine was ranked 7th out of 7 MAs in West Asia. In sixth place was Oman whose two clubs- Fanja and Oruba lost and drew against Ahli and Dhahrieh last year.

The timing of the announcement means Ahli Al-Khaleel will miss out on participating via the playoff spot and defending WBPL champion, Shabab Al-Khaleel will no longer be entered in the group stage.

Instead, Shabab Al-Khaleel will participate in a home and away playoff on February 7th. No announcement has been made as to the identity of the opponent or venue(s) for the game. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Palestine's Depth Chart (Forwards)

Mahmoud Eid is the only holdover from the 2015 Asian Cup
Heading into 2017, what does Palestine's core look like? AND how close are we to fielding a team that can not only qualify for UAE 2019 but do some serious damage?

The answers to these questions aren't clearer after the last set of friendlies. While it was nice to see two friendlies booked for the same window; certain circles will be lamenting the lack of rotation.

Fans have their opinions and so do we but in this article we'll look at how the staff rates the players in the pool.

Palestine famously qualified for the 2015 Asian Cup without an out-and-out striker but two years on there are a number of new, talented players in the pool.

Below is the definitive ranking of national team forwards:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Palestine's Depth Chart (Midfield)

Imad Zatara (L) one of many fighting for a position in Palestine's midfield.
Heading into 2017, what does Palestine's core look like? AND how close are we to fielding a team that can not only qualify for UAE 2019 but do some serious damage?

The answers to these questions aren't clearer after the last set of friendlies. While it was nice to see two friendlies booked for the same window; certain circles will be lamenting the lack of rotation.

Fans have their opinions and so do we but in this article we'll look at how the staff rates the players in the pool.

Below is the definitive ranking of national team midfielders: