News Roundup

According to the Palestine FA's official website, Mokhtar "The Dinosaur" Al-Talili has resigned taking full blame for Palestine's early exit in AFC Olympic qualifying.

Palestine's next friendlies as confirmed by Palestinian and Pakistani news sources is a two match series in Palestine against the Green Shirts. These friendlies are slated for May 24th and 27th but have yet to be confirmed by FIFA as official friendlies.

According to our friends at Football Rankings and their probable April 2011 FIFA rankings Palestine is expected to climb eight places to 170. If this is indeed the case, it only reinforces my negative opinion of the FIFA rankings. I understand Palestine tumbled down to 65 places due to a lack of inactivity and victories over five years. How Palestine can beat Bangladesh and Myanmar and still be ranked below them just goes to show how arbitrary these rankings are, especially at this level.

Assistant Coach Abdel-Nasser Barakat gave an interview to Ayyam Al-Mel'aeb and had some interesting things to say. Namely he said that the national team had very little information on the teams they faced which necessitated a more cautious approach in the first half to figure out the opponent and then adjust. He also said that Philippines was the best opponent the team faced in the group stages. Barakat went on to say that the entire technical staff will meet up in Palestine next week to suss out a plan for World Cup qualifiers. The best players from the Olympic team along with the players playing abroad are expected to be given a chance to win a place in the squad.

I would fully expect call-ups for: Hicham Ali, Abdelhamid Abuhabeeb, and Mustafa Abu Kweik. For the players playing abroad: The Wihdat trio, Mohammed Samara, Majed Abusidu, and Shareef Adnan to get call-ups. Roberto Bishara will be available starting May 22nd provided that Palestino do not qualify for the Apertura playoffs (the final is on June 18th). Imad Zatara will be in the middle of the Allsvenskan season so he would only be available for the qualifier itself and not the training camp. Omar Jarun, who recently signed with Tampa Bay FC would be in the same boat as the NASL season runs from April to September. It will be interesting to see whether or not Lebanon based Mustafa Hallaq and Mohammed Abu Ateeq will be called up. I would also like to see us call up Abduallah Al-Batat who plays for Al-Kharaityat in the Qatar Stars League.

[UPDATE]: Pakistan friendlies confirmed.