Saturday, June 22, 2024

Palestine make history after reaching final qualifying round for World Cup

Palestine have made history when they booked a place in the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers for the first time following a goalless draw against Lebanon in Doha.

The team, which played in Qatar, is second in its group and five points clear of Lebanon with a single game left. The top two teams of each of the nine groups progress to the final qualifying round for the FIFA World Cup 2026.

Manager Makram Daboub’s men take on Australia on June 11 next.

FIFA runs the World Cup but has delayed Palestinian requests to take action against Israel over its genocidal war on Palestine. When Russia invaded Ukraine, it suspended Russia just days later. Football’s world governing body FIFA had said in May that it will seek legal advice before convening in July to decide on a Palestinian proposal to suspend Israel from international matches.

“I ask you to stand on the right side of history … If not now, when?” said Palestine Football Association (PFA) President Jibril Rajoub, speaking before delegates from 211 member associations. “FIFA cannot afford to remain indifferent to these violations or the ongoing genocide in Palestine.”

Against the backdrop of Israel’s genocidal war in besieged Gaza, the Palestinian team has already claimed a piece of footballing history this year by making a debut appearance in the Asian Cup knockout phase.

Many Palestinian players have lost loved ones in the blockaded enclave in the Israel’s attacks. In the lead-up to the Asian Cup of Nations last January, Palestinian striker Mahmoud Wadi received the news that Israel killed his cousin in Gaza.

Players including Ibrahim Abuimeir, Ahmed Kullab and Khaled Al Nabris were unable to join the Lions of Canaan after being stuck in besieged Gaza last November.


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