Palestine’s first match since crashing out of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup is a mere ten days away and it should mark a period of renewal.
While renewal tends to be signified by a change at the top the sense of an impending coaching change has yet to come to pass. Unfortunately, the PFA has failed to find- or even look for- a suitable replacement and as such Noureddine Ould Ali will continue for the foreseeable future.
While it is the opinion of this writer that a change is absolutely necessary– one can only hope for the sake of the national team and football in the country that Ould Ali will learn from his mistakes and change his ways.
There is no point in rehashing the past, mistakes were made but the future of the national team is not beholden to the past.
While fans will be glum following the inability of Palestine to score or register a win in their three Asian Cup games there is still a solid core of players to build around.
Give Youth a Chance
The first thing that must be done is fully turn the page on a generation of players who have either reached the end of their careers or have repeatedly proved to be ineffective.
Furthermore, it is now time to bleed in youngsters who have proven themselves at Olympic level and with their respective club teams.
In goal, Rami Hamadi has proved his worth as the first choice keeper but competition needs to be opened up. That means thanking Toufic Ali for his service, promoting Amr Kaddoura to second choice and getting him some real game time. The mantle of third choice goalkeeper should be given to Omar Nifhawi who has shown flashes of brilliance with the Olympic team earlier this year.
Defensively, Palestine will need to find a way to replace Abdelatif Bahdari following his apparent international retirement.
There is also the small matter of finding cover for the injured Mohammed Saleh and the other two center backs in the Asian Cup squad do not provide long term solutions.
Tamer Salah will most likely be used in the short term as cover but the baton has to be passed to the Olympic team duo of Michel Termanini and Saado Abdel Salam. For all their faults, the two have a significant upside and can only improve if and when they’re given the chance.
Mus’ab Al-Battat and Abdallah Jaber have locked down their positions at right and left back, respectively. That said, a space should be carved out for Musa Farawi and Yousef Al-Ashhab to become their understudies and eventually push them for a starting position.