Players of Palestinian Origin
Updated: October 20, 2016
Note: There's been a spate of South American players who ply their trade in Saudi Arabia and the UAE who have applied and bizarrely received Palestinian documents. Football Palestine regards these players as scam artists who have no ties to Palestine and have acquired documentation through an illicit process to help their clubs sign more non-Asian players.
Joel Abu Hanna
Club: Bayer Leverkusen U19
Position: Center Back
Age: 18 (22/01/1998)
Capped: Yes, (Germany U18)
Situation: A highly rate prospect who has come up the ranks at Bayer Leverkusen. Abu Hanna has yet to make his first team debut but after impressing with the U19s last year and earning a call up to the German U18 national team (he has 16 U17 appearances to his name) he could be on the verge of breaking through. The burly defender signed his first professional contract this year; which will see him extend his stay in Westhpalia until 2019.
Club: North Carolina FC (NASL)
Age: 25 (24/08/1991)
Situation: Albadawi was born in Raleigh after his parents left Kuwait following the outbreak of the first Gulf War. After finishing his collegiate career at NC State he joined the Railhawks, initially captaining the U-23 side. He made the jump to the senior team in 2014. Albadawi is coming off a breakout 2016 season- setting a NASL record for assists in a season (10) and logging the most minutes in the team. His performances earned him a nomination for the NASL's Golden Ball Award.
Club: Al-Kharaitiyat SC
Age: 28 (03/01/1988)
Capped: Yes (1 cap for Qatar)
Situation: Jamal Mahmoud attempted to call him up for the Qatar friendly but his overtures were rejected. He is a solid contributor for his Qatari club side and would make for an interesting addition. With Qatar policy of naturalizing its best uncapped QSL players he may have a change of heart down the road.
Club: Al-Wakrah SC
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Age: 26 (11/07/1990)
Situation: Not a lot is known about the player other than the fact that he plays in Al-Wakrah's reserve team.
Club: Bethlehem Steel (USL)
Age: 24 (02/04/1992)
Capped: Yes (US Youth Teams)
Situation: An immensely talented young goalkeeper with 23 caps to his name at U15, U18, and U20 levels. A DC United Product, Badr spent two years honing his trade with FC Porto before signing a deal to become Harras El Hodoud's starting goalkeeper in January 2012. His debut and an imminent league title were rudely interrupted by the Alexandria Stadium disaster. To become Tim Howard's successor Samir Badr has to battle an array of talented young goalkeepers. Aston Villa's Brad Guzan (28) is currently the #2 and Klinsmann has overlooked Badr in favor of DC United's Bill Hamid (21) and Chicago's Sean Johnson (23) who represented the USA in Olympic Qualifying. These factors may prompt Badr to make the switch or he may peak at the right time and go on to represent the USA at future World Cups- both are distinct possibilities. Badr and fellow Palestinian-American Omar Jarun share in agent in Justin Stone.
Aníbal Araújo Capela
Club: Rio Ave
Position: Center Back
Age: 25 (08/05/1991)
Capped: Yes (Portugal Youth Teams)
Situation: A great prospect but it is not known whether or not he would have any interest in playing for Palestine. Aníbal has a total of 14 caps for Portugal's U18, U19, and U20 teams and recently left Braga on a free transfer, joining Rio Ave.
Club: Hannover 96 U19
Position: Left Winger
Age: 19 (22/02/1997)
Situation: Born in Bisan, just outside the Green Line the young striker moved to Schalke to Borussia Mönchengladbach and has since moved to Hannover 96 joining their U19 side.
Club: Bayern Munich U19
Position: Attacking midfielder
Age: 18 (19/01/1998)
Situation: Currently playing for Bayern Munich's youth side, the young Emghames was called up to train with the first team by Pep Guardiola in March 2016. If he continues on his current trajectory he could end up being a gem of a footballer.
Club: SC Freiburg
Age: 23 (15/03/1993)
Situation: A young striker who has steadily climbed up the ranks at Freiburg and now playing for their second team in the German Fourth Tier. Uncapped for Germany, he has expressed interest in playing for Palestine (even visiting the team when they held camp in Germany in the summer of 2015) and has recently been promoted to the Freiburg first team. His national team debut could come as early as 2016.
Amed Pinto Islame
Club: Deportes Santa Cruz (Primera B)
Age: 28 (16/12/1988)
Situation: A lot of talk on the amongst Palestinian football fans has centered around Yashir (who earned his first cap in March 2016- scoring twice vs. Timor Leste), yet his uncapped brother Amed, has gone unnoticed. Pinto is Palestinian through his maternal grandfather and interestingly enough all of his siblings have Arabic names. Amed has been with a couple of clubs in his career but has steadily worked his way up to Primera B club Ñublense. A player not short on resilience and toughness (he recently played in a game with a fractured nasal cavity) he has since joined Matías Jadue's former club- Deportes Santa Cruz- in the Chilean third tier.
Age: 29 (03/04/1987)
Capped: Yes (1 cap for Sweden U21)
Situation: A player who strung the PFA along and got citizenship only to leverage his status as an Asian player to get big money contracts in Saudi Arabia, China, and the UAE. Will most likely never play for Palestine despite his eligibility.
Moustafa Zeidan Khalili
Club: Aston Villa U18
Position: Second Striker
Age: 18 (07/06/1998)
Capped: Yes (Sweden U16/17)
Situation: Signed for Aston Villa's U18 team in July and is related to the two older Khalilis (Abdul Rahman Khalili used to be in this list but has since played in Euro 2016 qualifying for Sweden) mentioned on this blog. Scouts have likened him to Mesüt Özil. The youngster previously broke into the first team of fourth division side Hogaborgs BK (a club famed for producing the likes of Henrik Larsson). Talksport profiled the youngster ahead of his Aston Villa move.
Club: Al-Sadd SC
Age: 23 (28/01/1993)
Capped: Yes (Qatar U20, U23)
Situation: A talented prospect despite his relative lack of size for the position (180 cm). Muhannad Naim was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia but moved to Qatar with his parents at a young age. He is the product of Qatar's Aspire Academy and has spent a year in Europe with the Belgian side the Aspire Academy owns (KAS Eupen) starting two games during his time there. He has since managed to secure a number of appearances with Al-Sadd. Despite eligibility through his parents- who are from Jenin- Naim has never been contacted by officials from the Palestine FA.
Club: FSV Mainz 05
Age: 27 (09/07/1989)
Capped: Yes (Germany Youth Teams)
Situation: A much acclaimed youth player Schahin spent a few years quietly going about his business in the 2.Bundesliga. Deemed a surplus to requirements at Greuther Fürth he was loaned to Dyanmo Dresden in 2011/12. Nine league goals in 12 games saw him snapped up by newly promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. The step up did not stop Dani who bagged four goals in his first six Bundesliga games. Schahin has been capped 11 times at U19 and U20 level for Germany, however, the sheer amount of talent in Germany could doom his chances with the senior team. If he were to switch allegiances Schahin could play for Ukraine (where he was born), Russia (where his mother was born), or Palestine. As recently as last year, Schahin rejected an invitation Theo Bücker to join Lebanon citing his Palestinian heritage.
Club: NK Jedinstivo (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Age: 32 (21/02/1984)
Capped: Yes (Croatia Youth Teams)
Situation: First came to the attention of Palestinian fans in 2007. Sharbini has been capped at U19 and U20 level for Croatia but was never in Slaven Bilic's plans for the senior squad. According to Majed Balawi, the striker wants to play for Palestine but there has been a lack of initiative on the part of the PFA (more on this below).
Club: Rijeka (Croatia)
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Age: 29 (21/02/1987)
Capped: Yes (1 Cap for Croatia)
Situation: The more talented of the two Sharbini brothers, Anas probably would be a Croatian National Team player by now if not for the likes of Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar. A move to Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia might signal a new stage in his career. It wasn't too long ago that he was being linked with a move to a bigger European league. At 27, it may be too early to call time on his Croatia career. Even if he was to continue to be ignored by Croatia- would he want to play for Palestine? The PFA tried calling him up in 2007 (both brothers cited death threats for rejecting the call-up) and by Jamal Mahmoud in 2012 for the Arab Cup (a call-up that was also rejected because both brother were in the process of looking for new clubs after falling out with Hajduk Split's management).
Club: East Riffa Club (Bahrain)
Position: Left Back
Age: 24 (b. 1992)
Situation: Ready to play for the national team and was supposedly on former manager's Jamal Mahmoud's radar.