The path from the WBPL to the top flight of Europe is not one that has been forged by many players, let alone managers. That is exactly what Mohammed Dajani has done; rising from Hilal Al-Quds U16 teams to a part of Valeranga’s first team coaching staff in the space of five years.
The man known as Moa to his friends forged quite the connection to Norway. First visiting the country as a footballer in 2005, when he participated in the Norway Cup, the largest football competition for children. Nine years later, he was back in Norway- this time as a manager of Palestine’s U16 team, where he met his wife who was working as a liaison officer.
The Jerusalemite then went on to obtain two Masters Degrees. One in Physiology and Sports Science from NTNU in Trondheim and another in High Performance Football Coaching from the University of Lisbon.
Since moving to Europe, Mohammad Dajani had been the U19 coach at Norweigan third division side Nardo FK before decamping to Valeranga in 2018 where he spent one year as the U14 coach. The following year, he joined the Performance Department of the Eliteserien club.
Dajani, 28, had only coached youth sides but got the opportunity to step up to the senior team in 2020 thanks to that expertise in fitness coaching.
According to Thomas Hasselgern, Dajani has been crucial in the club managing the fitness of all age groups. “This year [2018/19] we have had very few overloads in the U-group. As we now use the GPS system on all activities, we get complete control over the players’ individual physical status. I would say that this is an area we have taken the biggest step in the last year.”
In an interview with Valegrana’s website, Mohammad Dajani laid out his philosophy “I think the physical part is very important for all the players. If you are not physically prepared, it is difficult to perform both the technical and tactical task, and the risk of injury will be greater. We do well to focus on each player’s physics. Therefore, my main goal every season is to keep the players in good physical shape and out of danger of injury. This will make them physically ready, which in turn will enable them to develop faster and have the opportunity to become part of the A-team or try out abroad.”
Dajani’s first season with the senior team was delayed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus but his work was on show in the latter stages of the competition. Valegrana went on a unbeaten streak over the final 11 match days to finish the season third in the table, their best finish in 10 years.
The Norweigan league season will start in the Spring of 2021 and Dajani will look to further exhibit his work on the continental stage when Valegrana takes part in the inaugural season of the Europa Conference League.