The former coach of the Palestinian National Team, Nicola Hadwa Shahwan recently gave an interview to Atlas Sport. Below are translated excerpts of the interview:
On his current work:
Nicola said that he had not received any offers to coach a Palestinian club in the WBPL and he would jump at the opportunity to return to his homeland to do so. He is currently weighing up offers from Rangers of Chile and an Uruguayan club.
On Leonardo Zamora’s move to Smouha:
“Zamora is a very good goalkeeper, this move is good for him in his efforts to get called up to the National Team, he will learn the language and the culture.”
On the current state of the game in Palestine:
Nicola said that football is in a state of renaissance in Palestine, but a lot of work remains to be done if the team wants to be one of the best in the Middle East and qualify for a major tournament. The ex-National Team manager said he did not know much about current manager Moussa Bezaz but said that he must seize the opportunity to impress.
On talent in the Diaspora:
Nicola stated that he was in talks with high profile players of Palestinian origin who are now capped by other countries including Daúd Gazale, who played for Chile in the World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign, and Julio Manzúr who appeared for Paraguay in the 2004 Olympics and the 2006 World Cup. He also said that those two players in particular did express their interest in playing for Palestine before they were called up but a lack of initiative and communication on the part of the Palestinian FA caused them to accept call-ups from Chile and Paraguay.
Nicola Hadwa Shahwan coached Palestine for 11 games over a one-year (2002-03) period. His reign was marked by positive, possession based play which saw Palestine score 7 goals in four games at the 2002 Arab Nations Cup. In his 11 games in charge (0-5-6), Palestine only failed to score in three.