Squad to face Iran announced

Fahed Attal in action against Iran at the 2007 WAFF Championship

So keeping in true PFA tradition a friendly has been hastily organized, without a manager, and with overtones of brotherly cooperation.

Mazen El-Khatib will lead the squad out for this match in the absence of a fully fledged National Team Manager. Makram Dabdoub will assist him in his duties.

Abdelatif Bahdari is expected to captain the squad for the fourth time and is the only foreign based player included in the squad:

Goalkeepers: Abdullah Saidawi (Hilal Al-Quds), Mohammed Shbair (Shabab Al-Khaleel)

Defenders: Abdelatif Bahdari (Hajer FC/KSA), Ri'fat Eyad , Samer Hijazi (both Jabal Al-Mukaber), Nadim Barghouthi (Shabab Al-Khaleel), Raed Fares (Hilal Al-Quds), Mohammed Al-Masri (Shabab Al-Dhahrieh),

Midfield: Musa Abujazr (Shabab Al-Khaleel), Houssam Wadi, Suleiman Obeid, Ma'ly Kawre', Ismail Amour, (All Al-Am'ary), Khader Youssef, Ashraf Nu'man (Tarji Wadi Al-Nes), Arafat Serhan, Abdelatif Abuhabib (both Balata), Murad Ismail (Hilal Al-Quds), Thaer Qaraeen (Jabal Al-Mukaber)

Forwards: Khaled Salem (Shabab Al-Dhahrieh), Fahed Attal, Eyad Abugharqud (both Shabab Al-Khaleel)

First things first, let me congratulate Mazen El-Khatib on his ability to pick a balanced squad something Abdel-Nasser Barakat struggled with over the past two years (let's face it Musa Bezzaz was never in the country long enough to determine which players were in form). I think most would have liked to see Ramzi Saleh make his return after a one-year absence. Other foreign-based players would be better served by staying at their clubs (if only to cultivate better relations with them):

  • Imad Zatara is just coming back from an injury layoff and Syrianska are in a battle for Allsvenskan survival.
  • Polish Liga I does not suspend play during FIFA breaks and Omar Jarun's Arka plays 72 hours after the Iran friendly.
  • Mohammed Samara could be playing in the Egypt Cup Final if Arab Contractors beat ENPPI.
  • Roberto Bishara plays his club football seven time zones away and I'd rather get his release for the Challenge Cup and Pan-Arab games.

According to local press Murad Alyan, Ahmed Harbi, Atef Abu Bilal, and other Arab-Israelis have been excluded from the squad due to work commitments. Looks like they're saving up vacation days for the Pan Arab Games in December and the Challenge Cup in March.