Published January 13th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Although the Palestinian National Football Team has yet to play a game in the pre-qualification rounds for the World Cup, it is already declaring victory. This is the first time the Palestinians are participating in the World Cup qualifications. ''The mere participation is the achievement,'' said the team's coach, Azmi Nasar, a resident of Nazareth. ''I don't have any expectations. I hope we will advance as far as we can.'' Based on Tuesday's draw, the team will play Qatar, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The Palestinian Football Association Chairman, Ahmed Afifi, believes the team has a good chance of advancing to the second round. If they do advance, they will play in an Asian group with four other teams. ''We will prepare ourselves for these games and I hope we will make history,'' Afifi said. 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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