FIFA Arab Cup: Palestine hit by injury crisis

Multiple sides have fallen victim to the injury bug in the lead up to the tournament. Unfortunately, Palestine have not been able to escape that hex and have suffered an injury that could drastically alter their chances of getting out of the group. 

Football Palestine has learned that the player will be out for the duration of the tournament after suffering a slipped disc. The medical team took the decision not to risk the player given the long term health complications that could arise from rushing back from this type of injury. 

Hamadi has been the backstop of Palestine’s most successful period since joining FIFA in 1998. The Shefa-’Amr native won the job in late 2016, making his debut in an unofficial friendly against Morocco in 2016. His hold on the starting job has been iron-clad and kicked off his career as Palestine’s first choice goalkeeper by keeping clean sheets in three consecutive matches. Earlier this year he surpassed Ramzi Saleh as the all time record holder in clean sheets (17). In his 32 official appearances, Hamadi has conceded a meager 24 goals (.75 Goals Against Average)- and has never conceded more than twice in competitive matches. 

In his stead, Palestine have two uncapped goalkeepers. Amr Kaddoura, the now presumed starter, and Abdallah Shaqfa. Following his first call up to the national team in late 2018 Kaddoura went back to his club and had an absolutely brilliant season in 2019- even scoring a goal. Statistically speaking- only three other goalkeepers in all of Sweden had better seasons in terms of clean sheets and goals conceded. 

Kaddoura has been lauded by his manager as one of Landskronna BoIS’s best players and his return from injury is a big reason why the newly promoted team flirted with another promotion- this time to the top tier (Allsvenskan)- for large stretches of the season. He appeared in 23 league games in the 2021 campaign conceding 29 goals and registering six clean sheets. 

The PFA has also announced that Palestine’s vice-captain, Musab Al-Battat will miss the tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test but did not provide any further details other than to say that the player was non-symptomatic. 

It is unclear if other players are in self-isolation now as a result of being in close contact with the right back.