Rapid Reaction: Palestine 1:1 South Africa B
Palestine Starting XI (5-3-2): Shbair (GK) Abu Saleh, Barghouthi, Al-Masri, Fares, Harbi; Kawre', Obeid, Khader Youssef; Amour (c), Alyan.
Substitutes On: Ismail Qasem, Eyad Abugharqud, Hani Abu Bilal, Musa Abujazr, Khaled Salem, Ashraf Nu'man.
Goals: Ismail Amour 9'
Recap: Palestine rebounded well from last month's rout at the hands of Iran. Jamal Mahmoud's side included plenty of familiar faces but produced a different result. For one, their was better tactical awareness and players knew what to do when they had the ball and when they lost the ball. More importantly, we saw players being played in positions that highlighted their strengths. Harbi and Abu Saleh were deployed as marauding wingbacks, free to attack and provide service for the forwards. Amour was played more centrally making his runs and his ability to score from outside the box more of a factor. As for the opposition while certainly not South Africa's finest they were by no means a poor team. Palestine was the stronger team in the first half. The Bafana Bafana or Amabinneplaas as the development team is called came into the game in the second half and grabbed a deserved equalizer in the 80th minute. For a managerial debut made on short notice Jamal Mahmoud can be pleased with the performance of his team. There are still several kinks that need to be ironed out but this was a positive first step.
What I liked: The new shape unveiled by Jamal Mahmoud helps Palestine mask their deficiency at fullback. This could be used to great effectiveness with the starting backline Roberto Bishara rarely plays left back anymore and could form a dominant triumvirate alongside Omar Jarun and Abdelatif Bahdari.
What I didn't like: The politicization of every football match is nauseating. Can't we just play a football match without having see the players run past giant posters of controversial foreign leaders? Just fly the Palestinian Flag next to the flag of the other country we are playing, no need for the posters and slogans. Since Rajoub took charge of the FA posters of Ramzan Kadryov, Vladimir Putin, Dimitry Medvedev, Zine El-Abedin Ben Ali, Silvio Berlusconi, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Mohammed Bin Hammam, and Jacob Zuma have been hung in our stadiums. Take a look at that list- not a lot of international credibility there.
The Opponent: The developmental team allows players in South Africa the chance to increase their stock by playing international matches. Some are youngsters on the fringes of the first team others are established players without a club and some are guys the South African FA would like to see get more experience. The team has previously represented South Africa at the COSAFA Cup and the African Nations Championship. As for an official squad list- I haven't been able to find one. It's easy to dismiss them but let's remember that Palestine's team is without its starting keeper and back line.
What's Next: The two teams will face off again on November 15th in Nablus.