After nearly two months of speculation- there has been no official word as to how the Palestine Football Association intends to proceed after a disastrous zero point haul against Yemen and Uzbekistan all but sealed the fate of Al-Fida’i on the road to Qatar 2022.
Almost immediately following the 2-0 loss to Uzbekistan the PFA issued a statement announcing the formation of a technical committee to review the performance of the coaching staff. On Boxing Day, the PFA announced that yet another committee would study the findings of the technical committee before taking action.
It is a scenario that closely parallels the fallout after the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Many had assumed that Ould Ali would be shown the door and the technical committee had indeed recommended changing the coaching staff.
The conclusion reached in the Spring of 2019 was the same as the one reached last month. The reticence to pull the trigger comes from PFA President Jibril Rajoub who will not spend money on a foreign hire and does not like the two cost friendly options available to him- Abdel Nasser Barakat and Ayman Sandouqa.
Ould Ali earns a base salary of around $2,000 USD/month before bonuses and any local candidate will earn roughly the same salary.
Rajoub has dug in his heels since acquiescing to the demands of the fans and firing Julio Baldivieso in March 2018. The PFA President sees the return of Barakat as an admission of his erroneous decision making. Rajoub has also dismissed the idea of appointing Sandouqa due to his “strong personality” according to one source.
Football Palestine has also learned that Jibril Rajoub has not paid the wages guaranteed of thou to Baldivieso and his coaching staff. Baldivieso and his assistants were guaranteed the full value (in the high six figures) of the contract- even in the event of dismissal.
Palestine will not compete at the 2020 Olympics and although mathematically alive they are all but eliminated from the 2022 World Cup. Meaning the next major tournaments Palestine can qualify for is the 2023 Asian Cup, the 2024 Olympics, and the 48 team World Cup in 2026.
A change of manager and an infusion of youth would need to happen sooner rather than later so that attention can shift to the future.
Ould Ali is the second most tenured manager in national team history in terms of matches played. The Franco-Algerian has been in charge for 27 official matched and two unofficial ones since taking the helm in April 2018.
As mentioned previously, there has been a statistical decline in nearly every aspect of the team’s play and losses against Yemen and Singapore-teams that Palestine should be beating- have exposed the former physio as being out of his depth.