Five Uncapped WBPL players that should get a call-up to the national team

This is part of an ongoing series where we take a look at five players who deserve a call up to the senior national team. In this article we take a look at five uncapped players plying their trade in the West Bank who deserve to be called up to the senior squad. 

Mohammed Deriya (Left Back/Left Winger, Shabab Al-Khaleel)

Is Mohammed Deryia a left back or an attacking left winger? Will playing him as a left back inhibit his development as a footballer? 

These were some of the questions, well more like statements, put forth by the fans after Mohammed Deriya notched a fantastic hat trick against Lebanon at the U23 WAFF Championship. 

The fact of the matter is that Deriya is not going to play ahead of Tamer Seyam for club or country- so why not take advantage of his skill set as a left back. He has shown the intelligence and understanding to do the job there with Shabab Al-Khaleel and the Olympic Team. Who says that playing left back inhibits his qualities? If Palestine are to transition to a more proactive style of play under Makram Dabboub then they will need to find a deputy for Abdallah Jaber. Mohammed Deriya could be just that; and for those who say playing left back will inhibit his development- just look at how Bayern Munich transformed Alphonso Davies. 

Yousef Al-Ashhab (Left Back, Shabab Al-Samu’)

Speaking of left backs, Yousef Al-Ashhab was a solid member of that 2018 U23 side that made it to the quarterfinals of the AFC Championship. The 26 year old is now plying his trade with Shabab Al-Samu’ in the WBPL and while he might not be the answer to all of Palestine’s problems at the position (when Abdallah Jaber isn’t there)- he is surely better than Mohammed Khalil. 

Khairy Abideen (Attacking Midfielder, Shabab Al-Khaleel)

Nazmi Albadawi’s surprise retirement leaves a massive gap in Palestine’s lineup. That was on full display over recent friendlies when Markam Dabboub resorted tot playing Mahmoud Abu Warda as a #10. Abideen has not grabbed the headlines in the local league by any means mostly because he plays in a Shabab Al-Khaleel team stacked with talent. To see just how important he can be to his team just look at what happened to the Olympic Team in U23 Asian Cup qualifying when he went down with a torn ACL. 

As a result of that injury, the 22 year old’s senior team debut will have to wait but he seems to be one of the best local options at the number ten position. (Editor’s Note: Uncapped Shaher Dawoud of Islami Qalqilya was called up to the last national team camp ahead of the Comoros Friendly)

Mohammed Fode (Forward, Shabab Al-Dhahrieh)

Six years ago, at the beginning of Abdel Nasser Barakat’s reign, there were a handful of names that would always appear in squads but never find their way onto the pitch. Last month, one of those players- Fadi Zidan- finally made his long awaited debut and did quite well. 

Mohammed Fode is in a similar bracket, he spent the majority of the past six years on the other side of the green line but returned to Shabab Al-Dhahrieh in the middle of the 2020/21 season and was an absolute sensation. Eight goals in 11 games saw Shabab Al-Dhahrieh shoot up the table and collect 1.63 points per game and improvement of more than half a point from their early season form. 

Fode and Dhahrieh have carried that form over into the 2021/22 season. Fode has three goals in five games and the team is collecting 2.2 points per game and are one of only two undefeated teams in the league. 

Handing a cap to a 32 year old would be somewhat counterintuitive given the focus on the future but if Khaled Salem continues to get called up- then why not give Mohammed Fode a chance? 

Ameed Sawafta (Tubas, Centre Back) 

It is no secret that Palestine has problems producing centre backs and that is in large part why Abdelatif Bahdari still continues to get called up and why Yaser Hamed Mayor is an automatic starter even if he is currently without a club.  At this point, Palestine is not too far away from holding an open tryout to address problems with depth at the position. 

Long gone are the days of Palestine being able to call upon a far younger Abdelatif Bahdari, Haitham Dheeb, Khaled Mahdi, Omar Jarun, and Daniel Kabir Mustafa.

Sawafta is only 21 years old and is currently the best at his position for the Olympic Team and while he might not statistically stand out (Tubas conceded the fourth most goals in the league last season) he passes the eye test and is young enough that he could continue to improve.

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