Monday, January 26, 2015

Asian Cup Assessment: The Future (Part III)

Abdallah Jaber: A future star and Palestine's player of the tournament. 
This entry is the third part of a three section entry assessing Palestine's performance at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. In this section we will look at how Palestine should go forward after a subpar showing at the 2015 Asian Cup.

Eight days. That's how long Palestine's foray into continental football at the highest level lasted. For those of us lucky to be there it was a magical time and one we will not soon forget. Palestine was one of the best supported teams at this tournament despite the fact that only 9,000 Palestinians call Australia home. 

The level of support was overwhelming and it came to a surprise to many of the players. One player told me "The support here is amazing, I've played in so many Arab countries and this beats anything I have ever experienced in terms of support. The people here, they just want to support us to be close to Palestine- they want nothing else, no [ulterior motives]."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Asian Cup Assessment: Tactics & Style (Part II)

Exploited: Jordan found Palestine's weak link en route to a 5-1 victory 
This entry is the second part of a three section entry assessing Palestine's performance at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. In this section we will look at how Palestine approached their games at the 2015 Asian Cup.

The great thing about Jamal Mahmoud's style of play is that Palestine never played afraid. Against superior West Asian opponents, Palestine was always in the match, often times taking a proactive attacking approach. In fact, Palestine rarely lost by more than the odd goal during Mahmoud's tenure. In fact, many losses could be chalked up to the fact that Palestine didn't have an out and out striker of repute. The team also evolved and improved from one that made many mistakes to one capable of going five straight games without conceding.

Given these developments, Palestine expected to be able to nick a result in their final two group games against Jordan and Iraq.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Asian Cup Assessment: Preparation (Part I)

Man without a plan: Ahmad El-Hassan

This entry is the first part of a three section entry assessing Palestine's performance at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. In this section we will look at how Palestine could have prepared better for their maiden continental participation.
It all seemed so promising. On June 1, 2014 Palestine returned home conquering champions. The man who led them to glory, Jamal Mahmoud, promised to stay despite his initial desire to resign his post. FA President Jibril Rajoub promised to spare no expense in preparing the team- promising 10-12 prepatory matches and a summer training camp in Germany with an eye towards recruiting foreign born Palestinians. 

Rapid Reaction: Iraq 2:0 Palestine (2015 Asian Cup)

Palestine Starting XI: Toufic Ali, Harbi, Salem, Bahdari, Jaber; Salhi, Khader Yousef; Amour, Nu'man, Maher; Eid.

Substitutions: Jaka Ihbeisheh <--> Ismail Amour 67' // Abdelhamid Abuhabib <--> Mahmoud Eid 79'
Cautions: Hesham Salhi 21' , Ahmed Harbi 58' 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Preview: Iraq vs Palestine (2015 Asian Cup)

Yaser Kassim- Iraq's midfield engine

Game Information
What: 2015 AFC Asian Cup Group Match
When: January 20th, 2016
Where: Canberra Stadium, Australia 
Kickoff: 0900 GMT

Streams: Live streaming available on the Palestine national football team facebook page and the sports section of

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rapid Reaction: Palestine 1:5 Jordan (2015 Asian Cup)

Al-Dardour scores Jordan's third
Palestine Starting XI: Saleh (C), Al-Battat, Salah, Bahdari, Jaber; Ismael, Slahe; Abu Saleh, Abuhabib, Ihbeisheh; Ashraf Nu'man. 

Substitutions: Ismail Amour <--> Husam Abu Saleh // Khader Yousef <--> Hesham Salhe // Mahmoud Eid <--> Ashraf Nu'man 

Goals: Jaka Ihbeisheh 85'

Cautions: Ramzi Saleh 82'

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ramzi Saleh apologizes to fans following blowout loss to Jordan

Melbourne, Australia- Palestine's captain and goalkeeper gave his thoughts on Palestine's unexpected 5-1 loss to Jordan. Raw footage from the mixed zone above (in Arabic). Translation in English after the jump...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Preview: Palestine v. Jordan (2015 Asian Cup)

Game Information:
What: Asian Cup Group D
Where: Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne, Australia
When: January 16, 2015
Kickoff: 0700 GMT

Streams: Follow Palestine national football team on facebook. You can also access streams in the sports section of

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Palestine arrive in Melbourne

Palestine arrived in Melbourne anonst much fanfare with throngs of supporters getting then at the airport. At the city's Intercontinental Hotel, a dabka troupe and singer preformed for them.

Melbourne, home to the largest contingent of Palestinians in Australia seem to be intent on willing their team to victory come Friday. Initial reports say that the supporter's bay has already been sold out. The vast majority of Australia's 9,000 strong Palestinian community are based in the city and should be able to drown out any support the Hashemites can muster.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rapid Reaction: Japan 4:0 Palestine (2015 Asian Cup)

Palestine Starting XI: Ramzi Saleh (C), Fares, Harbi, Bahdari, Jaber; Khader Yousef, Murad Ismail; Amour, Abuhabib, Nu'man; Eid. 

Substitutions: Khader Yousef <--> Hesham Salhe 70' // Mahmoud Eid <--> Tamer Salah 76' // Ismail Amour <--> Husam Abu Saleh 83' 

Cards: Ashraf Nu'man 43', Ahmed Harbi 45+1', Ismail Amour 60', Bahdari 68', Harbi 74' (sent off)

Goals: Endo 8' Okazaki 25' Honda 44' (p.) Yoshida 50'

Highlights and more after the jump...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Countdown to Australia: Zero Hour

Had a random end to the evening stumbling across a cinema and deciding to watch Interstellar - which I've been putting off for a while. Love it or hate it, the movie does do a good job of making you think of the feeling of going into the unknown.

A sudden thought I had was, "hey, we are in uncharted territory ourselves". Then I munched on more maltesers.

Not long ago, you would have found us struggling at the oddest hours trying to figure out which Nepali tv streaming link worked best. Now we are on the big stage. I won't talk further about the significance of the Japan match because thats been covered enough. Though I will say Australia is a very fitting place for such a venture. This country might as well be another planet! The time spent travelling to get here and the time difference with home sure make it feel like that. And what the hell is Hungry Jack's?!

Here we go everyone, see you on the other side...

Preview: Japan v Palestine (2015 AFC Asian Cup)

Shinji Okazaki: One of the Bundesliga's top scorers

Game Information:
What: Asian Cup Group Stage
When: 12/01/2015
Where: Newcastle, Australia
Kickoff: 0700 GMT or follow Palestine national football team on facebook

Previous Encounters: None

Japan Form: WWLWW
Palestine Form: WWLWD

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Historical Analysis: How will Palestine fare at their first Asian Cup?

Teams that debut at major tournaments, namely the UEFA Champions League and the World Cup, tend to experience a steep learning curve. Even ones that are highly touted tend to be awed by the spectacle of it all. By that logic, many have thought that Palestine will struggle to get anything out of their Group D opponents.

Now that may end up being the case or it may not. The fact of the matter is that the Asian Cup is unique in 60 years the competition has metastasized from a four team round robin to a (soon-to-be) 24-team tournament. Along the way there were a whole hosts of debutants, most of whom could only qualify after the federations joined the AFC or after their nation became independent. Here's a look at how each debutant fared.