Preview: Kyrgyz Republic vs. Palestine (International Friendly)

Life after Bahdari begins

What: International Friendly 
When: June 11th, 2019
Where: Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
Venue: Stadion Im. Dolena Omurzakova
Kickoff: 5:00 PM Jerusalem Time
TV: MENA (BeIN Sports), APAC (Fox Sports)
Streams: Streaming live on our Facebook Page

Previous Encounters: 
31.12.2018: Kyrgyzstan 2:1 Palestine 
06.09.2018: Kyrgyzstan 1:1 Palestine 
19.05.2014: Palestine 1:0 Kyrgyzstan (2014 Challenge Cup)
30.03.2009: Kyrgyzstan 1:1 Palestine (2010 Challenge Cup Q)
11.04.2006: Kyrgyzstan 1:0 Palestine (2006 Challenge Cup)


A New Era 

Palestine's 2019 AFC Asian Cup signaled the end of an era and this friendly might just be the start of a new one. It is under strange circumstances, as the friendly seems to be an afterthought for almost all involved in it. 

After some hoopla surrounding the manager, Noureddine Ould Ali fought journalists was shamed online and lived to manage another game. 

As for the players a break with the past has been made. Abdelatif Bahdari has retired meaning Palestine can no longer call upon the four centrebacks that delivered them Asian Cup qualification in 2014. He joins Haitham Dheeb, Khaled Mahdi, and Omar Jarun in the annals of national team history. 

Gone are veterans Tamer Salah, Jaka Ihbeisheh, and Alexis Norambuena and the brief reappearance (many years too late) of Daniel Kabir Mustafá is also a thing of the past. 

In short, Palestine will be looking for answers in defence. They committed to youth five years ago and that paid dividends as Abdallah Jaber and Musab Al-Battat have become mainstays of the national team. Now the search for the other two members of the backline begins in earnest and the question has become more pressing as Mohammed Saleh is most likely out for the rest of the year with a torn ACL. 


World Cup Seeding at stake

Lost on the PFA is the importance of friendlies to maintaining their FIFA Ranking ahead of the all important World Cup draw. 

Palestine have a chance to leap back into Pot 2 but that will require some help from unlikely sources. One hour before kickoff in Bishkek, Indonesia will take on Jordan in Amman- if Tim Garuda can hold the hosts to at least a draw Palestine will leapfrog them into Pot 2 with a win over Kyrgyzstan. 

Vitals Borklemans received plaudits for his work with the team at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals but his record in friendlies has been less than spectacular. Since taking over as Jordan national team manager in September, Borklemans has recorded one friendly win- against India- in a game that featured a goal from goalkeeper Amer Shafi. 

That five day period in January expected, Borklemans has been quite average at the helm of Jordan- recording three wins, five draws, and seven losses. 

Should things go Palestine's way they will avoid the following teams who are also in Pot 2 in the World Cup draw: Iraq, Syria, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, and Vietnam. 

Should Palestine be grouped in Pot 3 they will avoid these teams: India, Thailand, Bahrain, Philippines, Tajikistan, Korea DPR, and Chinese Taipei. 

Lack of Preparation 

Palestine come into this game with no training camp and with many players coming back from their vacations and things aren't much better for the foreign players included in the squad 


Ould Ali will have to be careful in picking his starters and those in the best shape should start the game in order to give the team the best chance of getting a positive result. 

Kyrgyzstan Squad

Much like Palestine, Kyrgyzstan has taken full advantage of life outside the previously closed qualifying system. Once relegated to battling weaker teams in the Challenge Cup in order to get a sniff of Asia's elite- the Central Asian republic has burnished their credentials as one of Asia's most underrated sides. 

They were unlucky to lose to China in their Asian Cup opener and after a narrow loss to Korea Republic they blasted Philippines 3:1 to reach the knockout stages. Only some highly dubious refereeing decisions and the woodwork prevented them from ousting hosts UAE in the Round of 16. 

Aleksander Krestinin is back for another cycle at the helm and his squad draws heavily from that Asian Cup squad. Thirteen of the 22-man squad ply their trade for local side Dordoi Bishkek. There are several key absences  Russia-based defender Valery Kichin, Germany-based forward Vitali Lux, captain Edgar Bernhardt, and naturalized Ghanian defender Daniel Tagoe are in the squad. That said, five players play outside of the country in Iran, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Belarus, and Bangladesh. 

Goalkeepers: Kalysbek AkimalievValery KashubaPavel Matyash

Defenders: Tamirlan KozubaevMustafa Iusupov, Alexander Mishinko, Aizar Akmatov, Andrey Dolzhenko 

Midfielders: Bakhtiyar DuyshobekovAziz SydykovMurolimzhon AkhmedovIslam ShamshievFarhat MusabekovAnton ZemlianukhinBekzhan SagynbaevKairat Zhyrgalbek UuluAkhlidin IsrailovTursunali RustamovOdiljon Abdurakhmanov, Guljigit Alikulov 

Forwards: Ernist BatyrkanovMirlan Murzaev


Palestine Squad

Along with the older generation giving way, there are several key players missing for Palestine. Out of form Pablo Tamburrini and Jonathan Cantillana have been dropped. 

While Nazmi Albadawi, Saleh Chihadeh, Mahmoud Wadi, Mahmoud Eid, Amr Kaddoura, and Ahmed Awad alongside promising Olympic Team players Michel Termanini, Yousef Emghames, and Mohammed Darwish have been excluded for undisclosed reasons. 

There are maiden call-ups for Hilal Al-Quds duo Musa Farawi and Mohammed Abu Mayala, alongside Haitham Khairallah who is the only second division player in the side. 

GOALKEEPERS

Rami Hamadi (Hilal Al-Quds)
Toufic Ali (Taraji Wadi Al-Nes)
Anas Abu Seif (Shabab Al-Khaleel) 

DEFENDERS

Abdallah Jaber (Ahli Al-Khaleel)
Musab Al-Battat (Ahli Al-Khaleel)
Musa Farawi (Hilal Al-Quds)
Mohammed Abu Mayala (Hilal Al-Quds)
Saado Abdelsalam (Platanias/GRE) 
Ahmed Qatamesh (Thaqafi Tulkarem)


MIDFIELDERS

Mohammed Rashid (Al-Bireh)
Sameh Maraaba (Ahli Al-Khaleel)
Shadi Shaban (Ahli Al-Khaleel)
Oday Kharoub (Balata)
Mohammed Darweesh (Hilal Al-Quds)
Mohammed Yameen  (Hilal Al-Quds)
Haitham Khairallah (Palestine Forces)


ATTACKERS

Islam Batran (Al-Jazeera/JOR)
Mohammed Balah (Al-Oruba/OMA)
Oday Dabbagh (Hilal Al-Quds) 
Tamer Seyam (Hassania Agadir/MOR)
Yashir Islame (PKNP/MAS)