Palestine vs Mauritania Preview

Date: Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Location: Nouakchott, Mauritania

Time: 2130 GMT
TV: Palestine TV/Mauritania TV (available on Arabsat)
Internet: (live play-by-play and links to internet streams)
Palestine Squad: Nadim Barghouthi (D, ِAl-Am’ary), Ali Ayesh (F, Shabab Al-Khaleel), Husam Ziyadeh (F, Shabab Al-Khaleel) called up to replace those who could not travel. Ammar Abuseliesel was allowed to travel by the Israeli Occupying Authority.

[UPDATE] In a positive turn around, the Wehdat trio of Bahdari, Keshkesh and Attal has left Tuesday morning to join the squad in Mauritania.

GK: Abdullah Saidawi (Hilal Al-Quds), Fahed Al-Fakhuri (Thaqafi Tulkarem)

D: Ammar Abuseliesel (Jabal Al-Mokaber), Ahmed Harbi (Al-Am’ary), Hatem Dheeb (Hilal Al-Quds), Majed Abusidu (Tadamon, Kuwait), Abdelatif Bahdari (Wehdat, Jordan)

M: Hussam Abu Saleh (Hilal Al-Quds), Khader Yousef (Wadi Al-Nes), Hisham Al-Salahi (Hilal Al-Quds), Atef Abu Bilal (Bnei Eilat, Israel)**

F: Ashraf Nu’man (Wadi Al-Nes), Mohammed Jamal (Hapoel Umm Al-Fahm, Israel), Fahed Attal (Wehdat, Jordan), Ahmed Keshkesh (Wehdat, Jordan)

Expected Line-up: (4-3-3) Saidawi, Abusidu, Abuseliesel, Bahdari, Harbi; Abu Saleh, Khader Yousef, Hisham Al-Salhi; Jamal, Attal, Keshkesh.

What to watch for: This friendly will be an opportunity for the Palestine-based players to stake a claim in the WAFF squad next month. It will also be an opportunity to see how far the WBPL has come with the introduction of a professional setup. Key players for Palestine will be Abdullah Saidawi, the goalkeeper, who will need to don the red cape Ramzi Saleh has donned so many times in securing Palestine results. Defence is traditionally the team’s strong point, and it will be again since it comprises the most experienced part of the squad. Majed Abusidu will captain the squad and he will have to provide the spark going forward while also ensuring his centrebacks aren’t exposed. In attack, Ashraf Nu’man and Ali Ayesh will need to show that they can score as prolifically internationally as they do domestically.

Danger Men: It’s going to be the guys that get the goals. For Palestine that is Mohammed Jamal, who scored on his debut in Sudan. Fahed Attal will look to end his scoreless streak that is as long as Palestine’s winless streak (although he did score against Terek Grozny last June). For Mauritania it will be their captain Ahmed Teguedi who notched two goals during World Cup Qualifying.

Prediction: Expect the unexpected. Mauritania hasn’t played a FIFA-sanctioned match since November of 2008 and have lost their last six matches (last victory: 13.10.2007, 2-1 over Burundi). Palestine aren’t much better managing a string of draws over the past two years against Jordan, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, UAE, and Sudan while losing to Iraq and China (last victory: 03.04.2006, 4-0 vs. Cambodia). Both teams will feel that this is their opportunity to end those miserable streaks so expect a lot of end-to-end, open, albeit sloppy football. Palestine 3 Mauritania 1

** Conflicting reports over whether or not Abu Bilal is part of the squad, he was included in the official list but reports say only 10 players arrived in Nouakchott and his name was not mentioned.

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