Both Group C rivals were in action this week as Yemen and Iraq failed to impress against Zambia and Jordan respectively.
The defending Asian Cup champions were thoroughly humbled by a Jordanian side missing some key players who were tied to their clubs in Europe and Saudi Arabia. 4-1 was the final score and it was 2-0 after 20 minutes. By all accounts it was a comfortable victory for the Jordanians who had only beaten Iraq twice before in 46 years. Iraqi football commentators are not feeling very confident at the moment, the general consensus being that the squad is in need of a shake up and that stars Hawar Mulla Mohammed and Nashat Akram are past their prime as evidenced by their free agent status. (We will have a full scouting report on Iraq after they face off against Oman on the 21st).
Yemen who are looking like the most prepared side in the group fell 1-0 to an under strength Zambia side made up of 16 domestically based players. Perhaps giving more credence to the theory that Yemen's wins over Bahrain and Syria were the result of home field advantage, weakened/experimental squads, and general flukiness.
As for Al-Fursan they are currently finishing up training in Al-Ram and are expected to depart to Amman on Wednesday. Manager Mousa Bezaz has decided not to trim the squad down until the final day of training. The squad is expected to made up of 20 players, five of whom have already punched their ticket: Captain Ramzi Saleh, Wehdat trio Abdelatif Bahdari, Fahed Attal, Ahmed Keshkesh, and Kuwait based Majed Abusidu.
Training has focused on getting the team to transition quickly from defence to attack and off the ball movement. Bezaz has the players training twice a day with a morning session focused on strengthening fitness levels. Reports out of the training camp have been positive and Mousa Bezaz is said to be happy with the performance of the players.
FA President Jibril Rajoub also stopped by training to address the players in overly clichéd prose. Rajoub also stated his intent to add a north and south stand to the Faisal Al-Husseini Memorial Stadium. He also said that a German fitness team would visit training camp and run fitness tests on the players, a service most developed national teams already have at their disposal.
In other news, JA Drancy midfielder Mohammed Shatreet expressed his disappointment in not being included in Bezaz's side. The France based player told Atlas Sport that his contract is up in January and that Al-Bireh and Al-Am'ary have offered him a chance to play in Palestine. Shatreet said that he would study their offers and make a decision later on in the season.