Monday, February 22, 2010

Women's WAFF Championship: Palestine fall to hosts UAE, Hammer Kuwait to all but book spot in second round

[UPDATE 2.28.2010]: Palestine fell to Bahrain today 3-0 in the third place game. This concludes the team's participation in the event which has been a bit of a mixed bag. The team's high point was the 17-0 demolition of the Kuwaiti side to enter the semis but followed that up with a poor 0-10 reverse against Jordan. It is in an improvement on their performance in the inaugural 2005 tourney where they managed 1 draw and 4 losses with a -20 goal differential.

[UPDATE 2.26.2010]: Palestine falls to defending champs Jordan 10-0. They'll try and recoup some pride when they face Bahrain in the third place game on Sunday.

[UPDATE]: Palestine will play defending champs Jordan on Friday and will contest the final or the third place game between the winner/loser of the Bahrain-UAE match on Sunday.

Palestine's start to the West Asian Football Federation tournament was a little shaky, falling to the host country
4-2 on Saturday. They have however, rebounded quite well with a 17-0 hammering of Kuwait today to pretty much book a spot in the second round where they will face the winner of Group B (containing Iran, Jordan, and Bahrain) on the 26th of February. The utter embarrassment of the Kuwaiti team led to an uproar in the Kuwaiti parliament with some MPs questioning the necessity of a Women's National Team (ouch!).

Scorers of the 17(!) Goals:
Wala Hussein 7 (Currently leading scorer of the tourney with 8)
Natalie Shaheen 4 (5)
Caroline Suhjiyan 4 (4)
Nadeen Awda 1 (1)
Aya Elkhatib 1 (1)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Unsubstantiated reports: Palestine-Sierra Leone FIFA sanctioned Friendly in Freetown?

[UPDATE 2.28.2010]: Make of it what you wish... this article was posted a day after chatter on the kooora forum suggested the match was cancelled.
[UPDATE 2.27.2010]: This match is NOT taking place.

According to chatter on the Kooora forums and some articles printed in the notoriously unreliable sports section of the Palestinian press, Al-Fursan will be taking part in a friendly on a FIFA date in Sierra Leone. One of the articles states that Moussa Bezaz sees this as critical preparation for the WAFF Championships in September due to take place in Beirut and 2014 World Cup Qualifying in October.

Another article goes into further detail by naming seven foreign based players in the squad: Ramzi Saleh (El-Ahly, Egypt), Majed Abusidu (Tadamon, Kuwait), Fahed Attal (Jazira, Jordan), Ahmed Keshkesh (Wehdat, Jordan), Abdelatif Bahdari (Wehdat, Jordan), and Mohammed Samara (Arab Contractors, Egypt).

And Also...
"Bezaz chose not to call up the Nîmes Olympique player, Imad Zatara due to his recent acquisition by the club and to give him a chance to prove his level in Ligue 2 but will call him for later matches. Fadi Lafi, as well has been left out of the squad due to tactical reasons and the bevy of attacking options available to the team."

Palestinians Abroad: Zatara, Jarun earn starts for new sides.

Imad Zatara earned his first start for new club Nîmes Olympique after a scoring debut as sub last week. He lasted 71 minutes of a 0-0 draw against Stade Lavallois before being taken off, Manager Jean-Michel Cavali has said that he wants Zatara to recover some much needed match fitness since he has not played a full 90 minutes since the end of the Swedish season in December. This result sees Nîmes drop to 5th in Ligue 2 on 37 points 1 point behind behind promotion rivals Le Havre and four points behind FC Metz, who currently hold the final promotion spot on 41 points.

Omar Jarun also earned the start for Pogon Szcezecin in their 2-1 home loss to Zoria Lugansk. He was substituted in the 69th minute for midfielder Piotr Koman. Three minutes later Pogon conceded the winner. Pogon remain in second place as they look to return to the Ekstraklasa for the first time since 2007/08 where they were served a double relegation due to financial troubles.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Zatara the Supersub

Imad Zatara has gotten off to a dream start with Nîmes Olympique, scoring his first goal on his debut as an 86th minute sub against Le Havre. Zatara, who was discovered by Manager Jean-Michel Cavali while watching a tape of the Palestinian National team, is hoping to have his contract extended for an additional two years at the end of his five month tenure. He has gone along way to proving that he is capable of playing at this level, scoring an precious equalizing goal that keeps Les Crocodilles in the hunt for the final promotion spot.

Imad Zatara moves to Ligue 2 side Nîmes Olympique

So, it might have been a good idea to keep an eye on the transfer wire this season... because it has been pretty active as far as Palestinian National Team players are concerned.

Imad Zatara has joined one of Eric Cantona's former clubs Nîmes Olympique on a
five month contract with an option for two addtional years. He was discovered by former Algerian National Team Manager Jean-Michel Cavali via youtube. Cavali sees Zatara as a tricky winger who can help set up scoring opportunities with his burst of speed and accurate crosses. Zatara will be the first Palestinian player to play in the French professional league.

Imad Zatara, who spent the 2009 season in the Swedish Superattan (2nd tier of Swedish Football) with Syrianska FC scoring 4 goals in 29 appearances. His contributions helped Syiranska- a newly promoted side-
finish fourth, 1 point shy for a shot at back-to-back promotions. The move originally seemed like a step backward for Zatara who had played with the football factory of Sweden IF Brommapojkarna in the Allsvenskan and Zalaegerszegi TE of the Hungarian Premier League.

Credit to Zatara though, he put his head down and worked hard and will now be playing in Ligue 2 for a club
two points off a promotion place.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Omar Jarun moves to Pogon Szcezin

Football Palestine has learned that
Omar Jarun has switched clubs during the transfer window, moving from Flota Swinoujscie to Pogon Szcezin on a two and a half year contract. The move represents a step up for Jarun who joins a team who has played in the Ekstraklasa as recently as the 2006-07 season. Pogon spent last year in the Polish Second League due to financial problems but earned promotion to the First League after finishing second in the Second League's Western Group. The team seems to be set for a return to the Ekstraklasa next season, currently in second place on 35 points six spots ahead of Omar's former team, Flota Swinoujscie.