2012 Calendar

Nepal 2012: March 8-19th

The most important tourney in 2012 for the Palestinian National Team is the Challenge Cup, due to be held in Nepal in six weeks. The eventual winner will qualify directly for the 2015 Asian Cup, so for all those involved it is akin to a condensed Asian Cup Qualifying campaign. Palestine has been placed in Group A alongside the Maldives, 2010 Finalists Turkmenistan and hosts Nepal. You can read more about the tournament here.

Looking further ahead, Palestine will, for the second year in a row, host a tournament in commemoration of the Nakba in May, except this time the tournament will feature National Teams instead of club sides. PFA President Jibril Rajoub is currently busy trying to convince the list of invitees to attend. So far, Tunisia has confirmed that it will send its U23 team, Jordan is a likely (yet unconfirmed) participant, and at the time of writing Mauritania’s FA is being coaxed out of international wilderness by Rajoub.

Arab Nations Cup: Palestine not invited

In June, Saudi Arabia will host a revived Arab Nations Cup. Unfortunately for fans of Arab Football this tournament is dead on arrival. In order to guarantee the maximum participation Continental championships are usually planned and organized years in advance. The 2012 edition of the Arab Nations Cup was put together in six months. It was originally supposed to feature a qualifying phase whereby 16 nations were whittled down to eight finalists (In case you are wondering, 22 nations make up the Union of Arab Football Associations). With a slew of nations turning down the invite due to World Cup Qualifying commitments, the organizers decided to scrap the qualification phase and go ahead with a 12-team tournament.

Due to their unfortunate and somewhat misleading FIFA ranking Palestine was amongst the non-invitees. Sharing the ignominy of a non-invite were Djibouti, Mauritania, and Somalia.

The farcical nature of the tournament was sealed when 2010 World Cup finalists Algeria declined the invite. Also deciding not to take part (Who wouldn’t want to play football in the summer in Saudi Arabia?) were: Jordan (perhaps the best Arab team in 2011), Egypt (the most successful Arab team of all-time), talent-laden Morocco, and cash-laden Qatar.

WAFF Championship: November 20 – December 23rd

Palestine has yet to schedule any friendlies for the summer but will be back in action once November rolls around. Defending WAFF Champion Kuwait will host the 7th edition of the tournament which will run from November 20 until December 23rd. Eleven of the 13 WAFF Nations have confirmed their participation, Qatar have formally declined, whilst UAE have yet to RSVP. 

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