Palestine, who ended Asian Cup qualification with a loss in a dead rubber match against Oman, have now turned their attention to the finals tournament.
A much rumored friendly against Iraq in Iraq will finally take place after being proposed at several junctions in 2017.
Palestine will face the Lions of Mesopotamia in Basra on May 7th. This will be the first meeting between the two sides since they last met in Canberra during the 2015 Asian Cup.
Al-Fida’i will then make the short trip south to Kuwait City where they will face Kuwait on May 11th. The two sides last meant in March 2013 with Al-Azraq prevailing 2-1 winners.
Both friendlies will present Palestine with an opportunity to register a win against opponents they have yet to beat. The quality opposition will represent a useful measuring stick for the side eight months away from the Asian Cup finals.
Al-Fida’i are 0-1-6 in seven games against Kuwait. They registered a point only once- in a 3-3 draw during the 2002 Arab Nations Cup. Palestine made strides in their last three matches against Kuwait, taking Kuwait to extra time (before losing 3-0) in the 2011 Pan Arab Games. They narrowly lost in 2012 and 2013 by identical 2-1 scorelines.
Palestine’s record against Iraq stands at 0-2-9 with famous draws achieved during 2007 Asian Cup qualification (2-2) and 2006 World Cup qualification (1-1). Since then Palestine have lost five straight and shipped 13 goals to the 2007 Asian Cup champions.
As the games are being played outside of the stipulated FIFA window for international matches the national team manager (whomever that may be) will not be able to call up players based in Scandinavia.
Mahmoud Eid, Hosam Aiesh, Ahmad Awad, Michel Termanini would be shoo-ins for the squad but will not be present. Chile-based players are also expected to miss out as well.
Players expected to join up with the squad are Ahli Amman based duo Mahmoud Wadi and Mohammed Balah. While the availability of players such as Mohammed El-Kayed and Mohammed Darwish remains uncertain.