It’s not often we get to celebrate victories of the non-moral variety here at Football Palestine. Indeed, the last time the senior team recorded a win was in 2006 during the Challenge Cup, triumphing 4-0 over Cambodia. June 2006 saw us surge up the FIFA rankings to 115 and the team was playing with a swagger after respectable showings in difficult World Cup and Asian Cup qualifying groups. Of course, 2006 also represents the international sanctions levied on Palestine after Hamas’s triumph in a completely transparent and democratic election which eventually led to a failed unity government, chaos in Gaza (Palestine’s football factory), and the election of the thuggish Jibril Rajoub as FA chairman.
But all that aside, what the Olympic Team has managed to do is very impressive. A lot of the credit goes to Moussa Bezzaz who insisted on coaching the squad, and we might have to apologize for affectionately refering to him as “Tits Man” if he keeps these results up. Jordan, it should be noted are no slouches. Then again, neither are we but in a football world dominated by the glitz and glamour of European Leagues it’s easy to lose track of power rankings within Asia. Jordan’s senior team recently defeated Iran and could be well on their way to a second Asian Cup berth. Their Olympic team is made up of many of the same players who played in the U-20 World Cup in Canada two years ago.
Unfortunately, there is virtually nothing out there in terms of multimedia to show you, but here is a detailed match report in Arabic. To sum it up for those of you who can’t read the report Mohammed Khweis scored the opening goal in the 22nd minute to put Palestine up 1-0. Jordan responded in the second half with an equalizer from the penalty spot after a Palestinian player handled the ball in the box before Ashraf Nu’man grabbed a winner with a thunderous free-kick that deflected into the back of the net off a defender in the 61st minute. The goalkeeper Omar Abu Raweis was equally impressive dealing with early onslaughts by the Jordanians at the beginning of each half.
This was a deserved win by all accounts, the Jordanians are not happy about losing this especially with the Asian Games right around the corner. For us, it represents an important building block, youth teams are mostly about developing players who can step into the senior team. But for Al-Fursan it is important that the kids that come through the system have a cavalier attitude that doesn’t hope for a win but EXPECTS to win every time they step on to the pitch. Going forward, we have a year off to prepare for three major tournaments: World Cup 2014 (Qualifying begins October 2011), London 2012 (Qualifying begins early 2011), Challenge Cup 2012 (Qualifiers beginning most likely in early 2011). So there needs to be a slew of friendlies against real national teams and we also have to hope that our FA takes a hands off approach and avoids hair-brained schemes like turning down an opportunity to play Asian Cup Qualifiers.