Palestinians Abroad: Saleh & Keshkesh seek new starts


Ramzi Saleh looks to be close to securing a transfer to Ittihad Alexandria according to several Egyptian news sources. Ramzi Saleh lost the starting job despite stepping in for the out of form Amir Abdelhamid last season to help guide Al-Ahly to yet another Egyptian League Championship. Several factors conspired against Saleh during his stint with the Red Castle. Despite winning player of the month in March 2009, Saleh was widely criticized for a blunder late in the season that forced Al-Ahly into a play-off against Ismaili to decide the title. In the preseason, Saleh suffered an injury that kept him sidelined and allowed youngster Ahmed Adel to lay claim to the starting spot. In the winter transfer window, Amir Abdelhamid departed but Sherif Ekramy was brought in to take over the starting position with Ahmed Adel as his understudy. As a result Ramzi found himself playing as an outfield player during training sessions from time to time. The proposed move to Alexandria should serve Ramzi Saleh well, he still gets to test himself in one of the best leagues in the Arab World. The Palestine captian can still put himself in the European shop window as his soon-to-be-teammate Gedo, is subject to many a European transfer rumor.

FP's Take: Not a bad move, at the end of the day, Ramzi can claim to have played in one of the biggest clubs in the world and he has silverware to show for his time there. Ramzi Saleh reminds me of American shot-stopper Tim Howard in more ways than one. First, their styles are very similar amazing reflexes complemented by a controlled chaos style that seems them command every inch of their box. Howard made the big jump to Europe when he signed for Manchester United in 2003. After winning the Goalkeeper of the Year title, Howard suffered a sophomore slump and lost his starting position to Roy Carroll. In the offseason he went on loan to Everton, impressed and gained a permanent deal. He is now generally considered one of the Premier League's best goalkeepers and is a force for both club and country.

In other news Ahmed Keshkesh is expected to sign for 2008-09 West Bank Premier League Champions Wadi Al-Nees on a free transfer. The WBPL will be transforming into a fully-fledged professional league and this is expected to be one of a series of ambitious signings for the league. Despite scoring some important goals for the club, Keshkesh hasn't lived up to expectations. His goal-tally this season has been in the single digits this season and his performance has attracted the furor of the Wehdat fans.

FP's Take: Disappointing that Keskhkesh couldn't grab the opportunity with both hands but he gets to come home and play a part in making the Palestinian League a successful one. If the league and Keshkesh are successful there will be more international suitors for Palestinian players in the future.

In Chile... CD Palestino beat Audax Italiano in what was termed the showdown of the colonies. Los Arabes won 3-1 thanks in part to a goal by Palestino captain and national team stalwart Roberto Bishara. Palestino continue their ascent up the league under new coach Gustavo Benitez, they are now on in 15th place (a relegation/promotion spot) on 13 points 1 point away from complete safety with three matchdays left until the World Cup break.

In Europe... Imad Zatara failed to make the trip to Strasbourg with Nîmes Olympique. The side look destined to spend another year in Ligue 2 after drawing 1-1 with the Alsatian side. Omar Jarun also failed to appear with Pogon Szczecin's 2-0 against bottom club Stal Stalowa Wola. Pogon are on 44 points with 7 matchdays to go, 4 points off the pace for the final promotion spot to the Ekstraklasa.

In unrelated news, ESPN reports that old friend and ex-National Team manager Alfred Riedl will take over as manager of the Indonesian National Team. We wish him the best of luck.