We have discussed before the steps needed to be taken to ensure future successes…we could say that this is a continuation of that discussion.
I have always maintained that the defense is the most important element of a team. It provides a basis for the flow of play, if you have a good defensive line, then you take pressure off of the midfielders and strikers to fulfill their attacking duties. If there is one set of positions we have been blessed with in terms of options, it is the defense.
From inception in 1998 until recently, our defense was lead by Saeb Jundiya who captained the team and played in the libero position. A permanent fixture that accompanied him was Hamada Eshbair. Saeb’s age started to show and his role became more of a motivational one towards his last few matches. He was never formally dropped, rather, he and Eshbair suffered the fate of those players who remained in Gaza following the blockade.
Over the past couple of years with the absence of our core defense players, other players were bound to step up. We traditionally play with four defenders, so in my opinion, here are the players Mousa Bazzaz should have on the top of his list.
Joining the national team in 2002 during the Chile connection, he is the longest playing player of the recent call-ups with the exception of Ramzi Saleh and Fadi Lafi. Mousa Bazzaz has not yet started focusing on players abroad and according to reports he plans to scout. Bishara does not need scouting as he has already proven himself time and again. His last call-up was the unsuccessful Challenge Cup qualifying campaign earlier this year. With his club, he plays either centre back or defensive midfield. With the national team, he plays on the left wing.
Another veteran, he joined the national team at the young age of 18. Majed plys his trade in Kuwait, currently with Tadamon. While the other players on this list add sheer strength to the lineup, Majeds strong point has to be his technical defensive ability. His positioning, man-marking and long passes are top class. Last call-up: last week vs UAE.
He first came to light in the West Asian games that were held in Iran in 2007. When the West Bank league started he was part of the wave of Gaza players that were signed by clubs. He join Al-Am’ary and after impressing, especially against Jordan last October, he caught the attention of Al-Wahdat, one of the big 2 clubs in Jordan, where he was professionally signed in the summer. Abdel-Latif is now a permanent fixture in the Palestine defense.
I couldnt write this list without mentioning Omar Jarun who is definitely promising. Click the link to read an interview we had with him earlier this year.
Another notable mention is Ra’fat Ayyad who did well in the UAE match last week.