Interview with Hicham Ali



We've reported before on the young talents plying their trade abroad and have lobbied for them to be called up to the national team. Well it seems that the FA thanks to the efforts of Olympic Team coach The Dinosaur has finally caught on. In November, Jehad Neshbit who plays professionally in Sweden was named in the Asian Games squad. Hicham Ali- was also due to appear but was tied to his club Malmö FF whose reserve team was participating in the U19 Swedish Cup.

Our friends at PalGoal.com interviewed Hicham, we've translated the interesting parts below:

The Palestinian fans want to know more about you-

My name is Hicham Ali, I was born in [1991] Malmö in southern Sweden. It is the city famous for producing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and I play for the club where he started his career- Malmö FF. And of course, my family comes from the villages that surround Safed.

What is your preferred position on the pitch?

Honestly, I can play any position across midfield but my preferred position is on the left wing. I specialize in powerful shots with my left foot.

But we have seen you play two matches in the quarterfinals of the Swedish Cup and you were helping out a lot in defence...

Yes that is true. I am the captain of my team and I hate to lose so I'm willing to help out in defence or attack in order to get the win.

You recently received an invitation to join Palestine's Olympic Camp. Where you at all expecting this?

Yes, I was and I didn't hesitate in accepting the call up. I won't lie to you either I was on the verge of being capped by Sweden at youth level.... It is a great feeling to be called up. I feel very proud to represent my glorious country- Palestine.

Did your invitation come at the right time or do you think it has been delayed?

No, not at all. I was called up to the Asian Games squad but Malmö FF didn't release me because we were competing in the u19 Swedish Cup because they needed my services and because I was the captain of the squad.... I accepted the invitation because I feel the responsibility to bring cheer to our resilient people and to raise Palestinian football to the height of heights.

You're one of the players of the diaspora, the fans are still waiting to see you play...

I've learned a lot in the youth ranks of Malmö from a skill and tactical standpoint. I know how to implement a manager's instructions on the pitch. Hopefully I'll be able to show my worth to the fans. I faced a lot of difficulty initially in Malmö and there was a fierce competition for places. It wasn't until the arrival of Thomas Køberg (A former assistant of Lars Laagerback, who coached Sweden and more recently, Nigeria) that I got a chance to prove myself. I went on to win the championship with the U17 squad and in November the Cup with the U19 team as its captain.

What's your future with Malmö FF? Will we soon be seeing you in the first team?

I'm currently with the U19 team and I serve as its captain and I have recently signed a new contract with Malmö FF. I was also told by Roland Nilsson that I'd be getting an opportunity with the first team, who won the league last year, very soon. I'm waiting for that opportunity and I want to prove myself here despite offers from other clubs.

What are the other offers you have received?

I received several offers from teams in the Allsvenskan but Malmö FF rejected all of them because they categorically refuse to sell players to direct rivals. There have been some offers from Superettan clubs, most notably was an off from Landskrona- the club that is coached by Henrik Larsson. The move was supposed to be a loan deal but after a long period of negotiations, Malmö decided not to accept the offer.

What have you learned as a professional in Sweden?

It's very different mentality than you find in the Arab World. That's due to the difference in abilities and the resources available. I was given an opportunity here in the youth ranks and I got to play against Juventus and other top teams in Italy as a part of a preseason training tour. The Juventus manager spoke highly of my performance in the game against his team