WAFF Championship preparations take shape
National Team manager Jamal Mahmoud has announced that Palestine will play a total of four friendlies ahead of the 2012 WAFF Championship. The biennial tournament is slated to run from December 8-20 and will take place in Kuwait. Palestine have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Kuwait, Oman, and Lebanon.
According to Mahmoud, the FA will organize two friendlies in October with additional friendlies in November and December along with a two-week training before travelling to Kuwait. In the interim, Mahmoud will move to organize training sessions once every three days with select WBPL players to combat the “indifferent level of play” thus far.
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Smouha is expected to be Palestine’s first opponent in October. The Egyptian club will travel to Palestine for six days on the FA’s dime and will play the National Team as well as one of the WBPL over that time period.
The other opponents have yet to be announced.
Mahmoud has said that 10 players based abroad have received an invitation to participate in the WAFF Championship. With this tournament in the middle of many a domestic season it may be difficult to get the release of some players. Those plying their trade in the West Asia region should be able to make the trip but others will need to convince their clubs. Fortunately for Mahmoud, many of his players play in leagues with winter breaks (Chile, Poland, Sweden) which may factor in gaining a player's release.
The names of the players have yet to be issued but there are rumored to be new faces including defender Daniel Kabir Mustafa (Boca Unidos, Argentina) and Imad Khalili of Allsvenskan side Norrköping.
Below is a list of foreign-based players who have been called up under Jamal Mahmoud*:
DF- Omar Jarun, Sporting Charleroi
GK- Ramzi Saleh, Smouha FC
MF- Mohammed Samara, El-Dakhliyeh
MF- Ismail Amour, Al-Yarmouk
FW- Ashraf Nu'man, Al-Faisaly
DF- Ali ElKadi (unattached)
DF- Haitham Khaduj, Tadamon Sour
DF- Mohammed Ghannam, Tripoli
MF- Mustafa Hallaq, Al-Ahed
FW- Mohammed Abu Ateeq, Al-Ahed
FW- Ibrahim Swidan, Tripoli
DF- Alexis Norambuena, Jagiellonia Bialystok
DF- Abdelatif Bahdari, Hajer FC
MF- Imad Zatara, Åtvidabergs FF
*Also receiving call-ups were Ahmed Harbi (Maccabi Umm Al-Fahm) and Ali El-Khatib (Maccabi Netanya)