Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rapid Reaction- Palestine 2:2 Saudi Arabia (Arab Nations Cup)

Palestine Starting XI: Saleh (C); Abu Saleh, Jarun, Wadi, Alexis; Kahder Youssef, Ismail; Zatara, Abujazr, Amour; Attal

Cautions: Ismail Amour, Omar Jarun 

Goals: Abu Saleh (PK) 45', Amour 72'

Substitutions: Nu'man <-> Abujazr //Samara <-> Zatara //  Sweirki <-> Alexis

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Comment: If you aren't going to do something right, don't do it at all

The concept of a tournament where Arab national teams from the "Ocean to the Gulf" compete for bragging rights is great. That would be the only true way of settling the score as to who is the best Arab team. The contest would most likely lie between the solid North Africans and the technically gifted(but increasingly complacent) Gulf sides + Iraq - this is not to rule out Levant sides who would fill the dark horse role nicely. Sounds watchable right? Enter the Arab Nations Cup. The 2012 edition is currently being held in Saudi Arabia and Palestine is competing in a 3 team group with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. You can read more about our performance (or lack of it) in the previous post. This post is to bash the entire tournament!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rapid Reaction: Palestine 0:2 Kuwait

Suckerpunched: Two opportunistic goals gave Kuwait the win

Palestine Starting XI: Saleh (c); Abu Saleh, Wadi, Jarun, Alexis; Kettlun, Ismail; Nu'man, Samara Zatara; Attal

Cautions: Jarun, Abu Jazr, Ismail

Substitutions: Kettlun <-> Khader Youssef // Samara  <-> Amour // Ismail  <-> Abu Jazr

Recap: A fairly even if bland game between two sides with a lot of time on their hands having being dumped out of World Cup qualifying so early. Kuwait were probably worth their first half lead but only just. Both goals showed that Jamal Mahmoud made an error in his team selection- favoring Houssam Wadi over the inexperienced Abdesallam Sweirki. On the first goal- Wadi was caught too far up the pitch and allowed a Kuwaiti forward to ghost in behind him. While Palestine was chasing the game- Kuwait scored the clinching goal with Wadi guilty of keeping the forward onside.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Preview: Palestine vs. Kuwait (Arab Nations Cup)

Omar Jarun- two appearances, zero goals allowed under Mahmoud

What: Arab Cup of Nations Group Stage Match
When: June 25th, 2012
Where: King Fahd Stadium, Taif, KSA
Kickoff: 18:30 (Local)

Stream: TBA (check Twitter for latest updates)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Palestine 2:1 Yemen

Palestine victorious but will need to raise their game against Kuwait & Saudi Arabia

Palestine Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ramzi Saleh (C); Abu Saleh, Sweikeri, Wadi, Alexis; Khader Youssef, Kettlun; Zatara, Samara, Nu'man; Attal

Goals: Ashraf Nu'man 36, Ismail Amour 90+2

Substitutions: Toufic Ali <-> Ramzi Saleh // Raed Fares <-> Houssam Wadi // Musa Abujazr <-> Alexis Norambuena // Ma'ly Kawre' <-> Roberto Kettlun // Ismail Amour <-> Mohammed Samara // Khaldoun Al-Halman <-> Fahed Attal

Highlights after the jump....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Arab Cup Squad Announced

Surprise! Alexis Norambuena makes his return to the national team

Jamal Mahmoud has called up 24 players to participate in the upcoming Arab Cup on Nations due to be held in Saudi Arabia from June 22 - July 6. Since taking the helm in November 2011, Mahmoud has been unable to call upon the services of Abdelatif Bahdari but the Hajer defender is included in this month's squad. Omar Jarun gets a call-up for just a third time under Mahmoud, whose teams have kept two clean sheets in previous games when Jarun has featured (a 2-0 win vs. Azerbaijan and a 0-0 draw vs. Qatar).

The surprise call-up is Alexis Norambuena who last played for Palestine nine years ago under Nicola Shahwan. He has five caps to his name- all part of 2004 Asian Cup qualifying against Qatar (2), Kuwait, and Singapore (2). An extremely versatile player, Norambuena can play in any position across the back line but will probably lineup as a left back for Palestine. His move to Poland has helped him grow as a player and he has amassed more than 100 league appearances for Jagiellonia Bialystok whilst also picking up some Europa League experience along the way.

Four years ago Norambuena stated his intention to play for Chile, hoping that his move abroad might help his national team aspirations. Marcelo Bielsa overlooked him during qualification for the 2010 World Cup and he hasn't received much attention under new management either [ed. Probably because he has played official matches for Palestine!]. Chile's depth at the position is Palestine's gain who now have two outside backs with Europa League experience (Husam Abu Saleh being the other) alongside Omar Jarun and Abdelatif Bahdari. If Norambuena plays he'll enter the record books for the longest time between two caps (9 years).

Competition for places in midfield should be fierce with Imad Zatara and Ismail Amour being pushed by Ashraf Nu'man and Husam Abu Saleh. Fahed Attal should start as the lone striker in a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation with either Mohammed Samara or Abdelhamid Abuhabib in support. With Mahmoud able to call on Jarun and Bahdari in defence he might start a more creative player (most likely Kettlun) alongside one of Ismail/Wadi/Youssef.

Notable absentees are WBPL top scorer Murad Alyan, his Hilal Al-Quds teammate Haitham Dheeb, Al-Am'ary forward Ahmed Keshkesh, newly signed Shabab Al-Khaleel winger Atef Abu Bilal, and Palestino (Chile) defender Roberto Bishara who was probably omitted due to the fact that he has only played in two games with his club this season. Despite stating his intention to call-up Lebanon based Ibrahim Swidan, Mustafa Hallaq, Mohammad Abu Ateeq, Haitham Khaduj, and Mohammed Ghannam all remain conspicuously absent.

The squad is as follows:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Thoughts on Qatar 0:0 Palestine

Despite the plethora of television channels based in Qatar, Monday's match between Palestine and Qatar was blacked out. So this piece isn't so much a recap of events but a collection of general thoughts on the team six months into Jamal Mahmoud's reign. 

Palestine Starting XI: Ramzi Saleh (c), Raed Fares, Abdesallam Al-Sweikeri, Omar Jarun, Musa Abujazr; Khader Youssef, Murad Ismail; Husam Abu Saleh, Mohammed Samara, Ashraf Nu'man; Fahed Attal

Substitutions:  Ramzi Saleh <-> Toufic Ali // Khader Youssef <-> Nadim Barghouthi //
Murad Ismail <-> Ma'ly Kawre' // Fahed Attal <-> Abdelhamid Abuhabib // Husam Abu Saleh <-> Khaldoun Al-Halman // Ashraf Nu'man <-> Imad Zatara // Mohammed Samara <-> Peto Kettlun