Five Gazan players wait for Israeli permit to join Palestine national team

Five Gazan players wait for Israeli permit to join Palestine national team
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Published September 7th, 2015 - 04:00 GMT via

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Palestine team
Palestine team

Time is running out for the Gaza-based players of Palestine national team, along with a host of administrators and club members, as they wait for the Israeli permit which will grant them access to be part of the historic World Cup qualifier against the UAE on Tuesday. The match is scheduled at Faisal Al Hussaini Stadium in Al Beira, Ramallah.

According to Ebrahim Abu Salim, the Vice-President of Palestine Football Association (PFA), the formalities required to secure the entry permits for the Gazan football delegates including the players had already been submitted to Israel which is yet to give any response. “The Palestinian authorities in Ramallah have submitted requests for the entry of 14 heads of Gaza-based football clubs, seven members of the Gaza branch of the Palestinian Football Association, seven journalists in addition to five Gazan players from the Olympic team, their coach and administrative manager,” Abu Salim told Gulf News.

“There is a huge delay, especially for the players who were supposed to join the Palestine national team a long while ago,” he said. “After addressing the issue of the players with the Israeli authorities, we were promised that the players and their coach would be in Ramallah to take part at the team last Thursday but that has not happened.”

“Let’s hope the green signal will come out on Sunday to enable the players to arrive in Ramallah in the first place, otherwise it would be difficult for them to show up at the match,” he said.

Abu Salim said that once the list of names of the approved delegates, if any, is released from the Israel side, it would be announced immediately, so that those granted the approval would be instantly travelling to Ramallah.

The official said that the Palestine national team would include players from the West Bank, Gaza Strip if the players are granted the Israeli permits, Diaspora and players from the 1948 areas.

He explained that players from Diaspora have been granted Palestine national numbers and passports (single trip passports) to enable them join the Palestinian national team. He stressed that the official procedures for the players from Diaspora have been conducted without any kind of interference from the Israeli side.

He called the visit of the UAE national team to the Palestine territory as historical, urging the other Arab football teams to follow the UAE example and come to Palestine and play there. “Such visits are major gains for Palestine football which form an integral part of Palestine identity,” he added.

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