Updated: December 2, 2019
Players of Palestinian Origin (Eligible to play for Palestine)
Note: There’s been a spate of South American players who ply their trade in Saudi Arabia and the UAE who have applied and bizarrely received Palestinian documents. Football Palestine regards these players as scam artists who have no ties to Palestine and have acquired documentation through an illicit process to help their clubs sign more non-Asian players.
Players featured have played in the top three tiers of their respective league.
🇩🇰 Wesam Abou Ali
Club: Aalborg BK
Age: 20 (04/01/1999)
Capped: Yes (Denmark U20)
Situation: The young striker has been scoring goals at senior level for the past two seasons after lighting up the U19 league in Denmark with 14 goals in 16 games. Abou Ali has tallied nine senior goals across the Danish first and second tier as well as the Danish Cup. Aalborg elected to loan him out to Danish second tier side Vendyssel at the beginning of the 2019 season. It will be a tall order to convince him to switch allegiances now but the PFA should definitely try its best in recruiting this top shelf talent.
🇩🇪Joel Abu Hanna
Club: Zorya Luhansk
Position: Center Back
Age: 21 (22/01/1998)
Capped: Yes, (Germany U19)
Situation: A highly rated prospect who has come up the ranks at Bayer Leverkusen and then took a step down a league to get first team football with Kaiserslautern. He has been on the radar of the German FA and has a call up to the German U19 national team (he has U16, U17, & U19 appearances to his name) but time is running out for Abu Hanna to “break through”. If Kaiserslautern are relegated this season his chance to break into the Germany U21 squad could be at risk. One to watch for in the future but for the time being Abu Hanna is committed to Germany.
After floundering in the second and third German tiers, Abu Hanna moved to Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk, where he has found playing time a little easier to come by.
Club: CD Palestino
Age: 23 (26/04/1996)
Situation: Ahumada was actually called into the U23 side that made an epic run at the AFC Championship in 2018. For whatever reason, be it paperwork or otherwise, the call up didn’t materialise. Since then, Ahumada has carved out a nice niche for himself as the third choice forward in a solid Palestino side that competed in the 2019 Libertadores and is eyeing a return to continental competition in 2020. The San Bernardo born player can play on either wing and has tallied once in the Libertadores and three times in the league alongside three assists this season.
Club: IFK Göteborg
Age: 24 (15/04/1995)
Capped: Yes, (Sweden B)
Situation: Hosam Aiesh had declared for Palestine in 2017 in the wake of an improbable Svenska Cup victory. Aiesh was a key part of an Ostersunds side that not only won the Svenska Cupen in 2017 but were transformed into a Swedish side that could compete in Europe- they made it out of their group in 2017/18 and Hosam Aiesh scored a famous gaol as Ostersunds beat Arsenal at The Emirates.
Injuries have been an unfortunate part of Aiesh’s career and those injuries delayed a debut with Palestine. He was supposed to make his international debut for the country in September 2018 in Bhutan, October 2018 against Bhutan at home, November 2018 against Maldives, and the final Asian Cup Qualifier against Oman in Muscat. Had one of those events came to pass then Aiesh would be cap tied to Palestine. Instead, Aiesh went on to have a monster 2018 season- tallying 12 assists in the league and earning a call up to the Swedish national team for their January camp.
The door is still open for Aiesh but Sweden is in pole position to cap tie him and close that door firmly shut.
Club: Al-Kharaitiyat SC
Age: 29 (03/01/1988)
Capped: Yes (1 cap for Qatar)
Situation: Jamal Mahmoud attempted to call him up for the Qatar friendly but his overtures were rejected. He is a solid contributor for his Qatari club side and would make for an interesting addition. With Qatar policy of naturalizing its best uncapped QSL players he may have a change of heart down the road.
Club: Al-Wakrah SC
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Age: 27 (11/07/1990)
Situation: Not a lot is known about the player other than the fact that he plays in Al-Wakrah’s reserve team.
Club: FC Copenhagen
Position: Right Midfield
Age: 18 (07/04/2001)
Capped: Yes (Denmark U19)
Situation: The right sided midfielder is on the fringes of Danish powerhouse FC Copenhagen. His talent and ability have not gone unnoticed and he received his first national team call up from Denmark’s U19 team earlier this year.
Club: Bahlinger SC
Age: 24 (15/03/1993)
Situation: Uncapped for Germany, he has expressed interest in playing for Palestine (even visiting the team when they held camp in Germany in the summer of 2015) and was promoted to the Freiburg first team. Minutes proved hard to come by and he did not succeed in gracing the Bundesliga after making sporadic appearances for the team in the second tier. The lanky striker will be hoping to kickstart his career in the German fourth tier.
Club: Assyriska IK
Age: 21 (30/01/1998)
Capped: Yes (Sweden U15, U16, U17)
Situation: Zackarias ‘Zacki’ Faour started playing for Malmo FF aged five and at 13 he was being watched by some of Europe’s biggest clubs. In the end Manchester City paid £400,000 for the the talented striker who is powerful, skillful and has predatory instincts. In 2016, Faour joined Midtjylland on a season-long loan in September 2016 with the Danish club having an option to sign the youngster at the end of the season. One year later, he joined Swedish top-flight side Sirius in August 2017 after three years at Manchester City, signing a three and a half year contract and immediately featured in the first team squad and spent the second half of the season on loan with Osters.
He currently plays for third division side Assyriska IK.
Club: Torns IF
Position: Right Wing
Age: 22 (15/01/1997)
Situation: Born to Palestinian parents in Sweden, Hamid had a fine season in the fourth tier of Swedish league in 2017 starting 23/26 games en route to registering 12 assists and seven goals. That form earned him a move to third tier Torns IF.
🇧🇪 Mohammed Kahail
Club: La Louviere Centre
Position: Centre Back
Age: 26 (28/02/1993)
Situation: Followers of the Gazan League will have heard of Kahail due to the time he spent with Gaza Sport- and captained the side before moving to Belgium in late 2018. His arrival in Belgium had been for non-football reasons but he eventually found a home in the Belgian third tier. He has been with his current club- La Louviere Centre since the beginning of the 2019/20 season and has earned regular playing time in his first season abroad. He came to the attention of Noureddine Ould Ali in 2019 and was due to be a part of a training camp in Belgium- which was postponed multiple times and ultimately never came to fruition.
Age: 32 (03/04/1987)
Capped: Yes (1 cap for Sweden U21)
Situation: A player who fell out with the PFA- but only after gaining citizenship- leveraged his status as an Asian player to get big money contracts in Saudi Arabia, China, and the UAE. Will most likely never play for Palestine despite his eligibility. Now on loan at Brommapojkarna in the Swedish second tier he isn’t even the most high profile Palestinian in Sweden- with Hosam Aiesh, Mahmoud Eid, and Ahmad Awad all more successful as of late.
🇸🇪Moustafa Zeidan Khalili
Age: 19 (07/06/1998)
Capped: Yes (Sweden U16/17)
Situation: Signed for Aston Villa’s U18 team in July and is related to the two older Khalilis ( his cousin Abdul Rahman Khalili used to be in this list but has since played in Euro 2016 qualifying for Sweden) mentioned on this blog. Scouts have likened him to Mesüt Özil. The youngster previously broke into the first team of fourth division side Hogaborgs BK (a club famed for producing the likes of Henrik Larsson). Talksport profiled the youngster ahead of his Aston Villa move since then the attacking midfielder has moved back to Sweden, first to Helsingborg where he made his professional debut under Henrik Larsson, and then to Superettan strugglers Syrianska where he has had a solid run of games- that run continued with Frej in 2019 who were relegated following a playoff loss to Umea. This is Khalili’s second consecutive relegation.
Age: 23 (01/04/1996)
Situation: The left winger has been a proficient attacking player in Denmark’s third tier for fledgling club Vatanspor.
Age: 30 (26/11/1989)
Capped: Yes (1 Cap for Bolivia)
Situation: Mustafá has been a consistent performer in the Bolivian top tier for the past seven seasons which has seen him get called up to the Bolivian national team. In March 2019 he got his first cap, starting a 2-2 draw against Nicaragua on the back of his Libertadores debut with Bólivar earlier this year.
Club: Al-Sadd SC
Age: 26 (28/01/1993)
Capped: Yes (Qatar U20, U23)
Situation: A talented prospect despite his relative lack of size for the position (180 cm). Muhannad Naim was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia but moved to Qatar with his parents at a young age. He is the product of Qatar’s Aspire Academy and has spent a year in Europe with the Belgian side the Aspire Academy owns (KAS Eupen) starting two games during his time there. He has since managed to secure a number of appearances with Al-Sadd. Despite eligibility through his parents- who are from Jenin- Naim has never been contacted by officials from the Palestine FA.
Position: Right Midfield
Age: 23 (26/12/1996)
Situation: Was on the radar of the Olympic team but a call up never materialised. Salamoun currently plies his trade in the Danish third tier and has garnered consistent playing time during the 2019 season.
Age: 30 (09/07/1989)
Capped: Yes (Germany Youth Teams)
Situation: A much acclaimed youth player Schahin spent a few years quietly going about his business in the 2.Bundesliga. Deemed a surplus to requirements at Greuther Fürth he was loaned to Dyanmo Dresden in 2011/12. Nine league goals in 12 games saw him snapped up by newly promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. The step up did not stop Dani who bagged four goals in his first six Bundesliga games en route to an eight goal season. Schahin has been capped 11 times at U19 and U20 level for Germany, however, his chance is well and truly gone. That said, he has failed to build on his one solid Bundesliga season and is now a bit-part player with Roda in the Dutch Eredivisie.
In 2013, Schahin rejected an invitation Theo Bücker to join Lebanon citing his Palestinian heritage. He was on Noureddine Ould Ali’s radar before the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Club: East Riffa Club (Bahrain)
Position: Left Back
Age: 27 (b. 1992)
Situation: Ready to play for the national team and was supposedly on former manager’s Jamal Mahmoud’s radar.
Club: CD Palestino
Age: 19 (07/06/2000)
Capped: Yes (Chile U19)
Situation: Zedan is still very much of the fringes of the Palestino first team and has only appeared in two games over the last two season.