Preview: Palestine v. Syria (Friendly)
Syria will be without many high profile stars including Firas Al-Khatib (C)
Where: Amman International Stadium, Amman, Jordan
What: International Friendly
Kickoff: 1800 Local Time (+3 GMT)
There has been precious little information about this friendly series with neighboring Syria. A 16 man preliminary squad was released and since then third party sources have claimed that strikers Khaldoun Al-Halman and Eyad Abugharqud have joined the fold. Also expected to join the squad for at least one of these friendlies are goalkeeper Ramzi Saleh, Gaza-based Houssam Wadi, Jordan-based Ismail Amour and Ashraf Nu'man alongside debutant Hani Naboulse of Denmark's Lyngby BK. [UPDATE: Naboulse, Fahed Attal, & Ma'ly Kaware' added to the squad. Bahaa Dhiab, Jehad Rabie, and Raed Jebareen are late scratches]
For their part, Syria have called up 22 players and will head to Egypt for a training camp as well as a friendly with Egypt's national team before going to Kuwait to participate in the WAFF Championship. Since the outbreak of violence in the country, Syria has slipped down the FIFA rankings. A comfortable 6-1 two-legged win over Tajikistan in World Cup Qualifying was overturned after it was discovered that the Syrian FA fielded an ineligible player.
The team went nearly a year without playing a match after that incident. When they finally did reappear on the pitch the talented team played well below their standard. Their only win this year was a 2-0 victory over Nepal at the Nehru Cup- a tournament which saw the Syrians lose 2-1 to India and the Maldives as well as drawing 2-2 against Cameroon's B-team.
What to Expect
Palestine will be looking to put the finishing touches on their WAFF Championship squad. Look for all the goalkeepers to get some action over the two friendlies, which would mean Bahaa Dhiab will have a chance to unseat one of Mohammed Shbair or Toufic Ali as the back-up to Ramzi Saleh. If Jamal Mahmoud cannot secure the release of first choice centre backs Omar Jarun and Abdelatif Bahdari then there will be an opportunity for the likes of
Jehad Rabie and Haitham Dheeb to translate good club form into a starting spot with the national team. With Murad Ismael and Roberto Kettlun ruled out of the WAFF Championship there could be an opportunity for Al-Koori to stake his claim in the middle of the pitch and of course, there's the small matter of finding a reliable national team forward.
Syria will be looking to blood in youngsters that have impressed for the Olympic and U20 teams. Mahmoud Al-Mawas set the AFC U-19 Championship alight a couple of weeks ago and should be a big part of Syria's plans going forward. The rest of the squad is largely inexperienced, 30-year old Samir Awad is the oldest player in the squad. The only other veterans of Syria's 2011 AFC Asian Cup Campaign in the squad are: Balhous, Salih, Al-Baour, Dyab, and Habib but the only consistent starter of the bunch has been Balhous who has 82 caps to his name.
Goalkeepers: Toufic Ali (Wadi Al-Nes), Mohammed Shbair (Shabab Al-Khaleel),
Bahaa Dhiyab (Ahli Al-Khaleel)
Defenders: Husam Abu Saleh (Hilal Al-Quds), Nadim Barghouthi (Shabab Al-Khaleel), Haitham Dheeb, Raed Fares (both Hilal Al-Quds), Khaled Mahdi (Al-Am'ary), J
ehad Rabie (Shabab Al-Khaleel), Ahmad Salameh (Al-Am'ary), Hani Naboulse (Lyngby BK/DEN)
Midfielders: Abdelhamid Abuhabib, Mousa Abujazr (both Shabab Al-Khaleel),
Raed Jebareen (Jabal Al-Mukaber), Mahmoud 'Al-Koori' Salah (Al-Am'ary), Khader Yousef, Amjad Zidan (both Wadi Al-Nes), Ma'ly Kawre' (Al-Am'ary)
Forwards: Eyad Abugharqud (Shabab Al-Khaleel), Khaldoun Al-Halman (Ahli Al-Khaleel), Fahed Attal (Shabab Al-Khaleel)
Goalkeepers: Mosab Balhous (Al-Wahda), Ibrahim Alma (Al-Shorta), Mohammed Youssef (Hutteen)
Defenders: Mohamad Zbida (Al-Jaish), Abdel Nasir Hassan (Al-Shorta), Ahmad Salih (Al-Jaish), Jehad Al Baour (Al-Jaish), Ahmad Kalasi (Al-Ittihad), Salah Shahrour (Al-Ittihad), Samir Awad (Al-Majd)
Midfielders: Taha Dyab (Al-Shorta), Qusay Habib (Al-Shorta), Mahmoud Al-Mawas (Al-Karamah), Oday Jafal (Al-Shorta), Hussein Juweyd (Al-Hurriyeh), Ahmad Douni (Misfat Bani Yas), Mohamad Fares (Al-Ittihad), Mahmoud Khaduj (Tishreen) Abdelkader Majrmash (Al-Shorta)
Forwards: Mardik Mardikian (Hutteen), Omar Khirbeen, Khaled Mubyid (Al-Taleea)