How is your plan progressing and what does Palestinian Football lack in your opinion?
I am enjoying my time here and I'm happy to be working in Palestine under the command of Chairman Jibril Rajoub. My strategy is to further develop Palestinian Football by improving it at the grassroots, to improve the level of the coaches and managers and to invest in our youth. Our investments at the youth level will lead to us profiting in the future. I'd like to see us create specialized medical centers.
What weaknesses do Palestinian players posses?
The league stops for long periods of time and Palestinian players suffer as a result of not having continual training programs. I think this problem will be solved very soon with the creation of the professional league.
...and their strengths?
The technical level of the players here is very high. In general, Palestinian players are very talented.
Did you watch the Yasser Arafat Cup?
I watched the games of every team competing in the cup, with the exception of Al-Dhahrieh who I will for sure watch once the league starts up for they are a good team with good players. I also watched several youth league matches.
How do you go about selecting a squad?
I have about 70 players in my pool and I watch them and select the best players at every position. There are some difficulties with securing the services of our professional players [players who play outside of Palestine] if the game doesn't fall on an official FIFA match date.
Do you watch our foreign-based players?
Yes, I watch them on television and I remain in constant contact with them.
Are there any plans to include new players in the National Team?
Of course, the door is always open for all the players to wear the shirt of the Palestine. There is someone who points out players for us to watch in foreign based leagues. There is, however, some misconceptions concerning the the ability of some of these players. I have many contacts abroad and I can find out whether or not the player is capable of representing the National Team.
What do you think of the National Team?
I've been in charge of the National Team for three games and they have all ended in 1-1 draws (@ UAE, vs. Dynamo Moscow, @ Sudan). We started with a different lineup in every game due to our inability to secure the services of all our foreign based players. We would pick these players and would be surprised when they told they couldn't join us at the last minute, this was also the case with some of the Gazan players. We would call up four or five players and their inability to join up with the squad would ruin our plans. Ammar Abuseliesel is one player who I have called up multiple times and he was not allowed to travel outside the Gaza Strip. In general, though I would say that we have improved as a national team.
What is the biggest problem you have faced as Manager of the National Team?
We don't meet up for long periods of time and like I said before it is really difficult when our professional players are only able to join up only two days before a match. Our FA has been working really hard to set up more friendlies but it has proven to be difficult to find other FAs willing to play us. I hope we can overcome this problem and organize more friendlies in the future so as to improve the level of our players.
What infuriates you the most about the West Bank Premier League?
Play-acting as a means of wasting time, this is a global phenomenon that I wish would disappear.
What are your thoughts on our National Team players?
We have a real special and unique set of players, we started with baby steps and the team has improved there is a mutual respect between the players and the technical staff. Improving this team is a continuos effort that requires the full participation of everyone involved, organizing more tournaments and friendlies will help in that effort.
When does your contact end?
June 30th, 2011
How is your relationship with Jibril Rajoub?
Very good, I am here because of Jibril Rajoub's strength, he is a person who loves sport. He has a vision for Palestine's footballing future and a large global network, we must work to ensure that his vision becomes reality.
Are you enjoying your stay in Palestine?
The people are great and I am happy to be here.
Any final words?
I hope Palestine wins many matches and climbs up the FIFA rankings and that we can play more friendlies in Palestine and elsewhere. I hope that Palestine can qualify for the Asian Cup and then the FIFA World Cup Finals.