'We only have two professional players in the side' - Palestine National team official Abdallah Alfara

The Middle-Eastern side have arrived in Kochi to take on India in a friendly on February 6, 2013 and are hoping to win without several key players....
The Indian national team will be facing a Palestine side, who are in the country for the very first time, in an international friendly on February 6, 2013 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. The visiting team had to endure a gruelling 20-hour flight owing to their tense political situation with Israel.

National team official Abdallah Alfara explained that despite the troubles the team faced on their way to India, their mission was to play some good football and win over the people of India.

Alfara clarified that the team was without 12 of their key players and was of the opinion that a win would be a bonus.

"This trip is like thanksgiving time for us. We have brotherly relationship with the Indians. We still remember the warm ties our dear late Yasser Arafat (President of Palestinian National Authority ) had with India's late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. We're so happy to be in India and in Kochi. We expect good crowd support too for our team," said Alfara to The Times of India.

The official refused to be drawn into the political strife in the country saying that it was best left to the politicians. He however clarified on the absence of several key players for the Asian side.

"Our main players are doing club duties in Middle East and in a few European clubs. But this Palestine team is preparing for the AFC Challenge Cup just like India, although we are clubbed in different groups. This friendly match should be treated purely as a friendly one," Alfara stated.

The Palestine team is short on many key players

"We have only two professional players in the team - captain Abdllatif Al Bahdari and Ashraf Alfaw Wahfra, the rest of the players are too young and the average age of the team is 23," revealed the Palestine official.

Abdllatif plays for Al Hjara Club in Dammam, Saudi Arabia while Ashraf for Fais Aly Club in Amman, Jordan. The team's Jordanian coach Jamal Mahmoud, insisted that the difference in the rankings (Palestine are placed 152 while India are at 166 in the FIFA ranking list), hardly matter.

"This is also a good chance for the youngsters to prove their mettle and make sure they got into national team on merit rather than as substitutes in the absence of main players. The team held training under light for an hour even despite reaching the city in the early hours on Monday," said Mahmoud.

Meanwhile Abdallah revealed that the Indian team has been invited to play in the Al Nakba Cup, a friendly international football tournament hosted by Palestine to be held in May.

The Indian national side held an hour long training on Monday evening.

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