Palestine pair Maraaba and Seyam hope to shine against UAE

Palestine pair Maraaba and Seyam hope to shine against UAE
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Published September 6th, 2015 - 14:01 GMT via

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Sameh Maraaba
Sameh Maraaba

The UAE’s 10-0 hammering of Malaysia in Thursday’s Fifa 2018 World Cup qualifier in Abu Dhabi was noteworthy for many things, particularly a midfield masterclass from the Abdul Rahman pair of Omar and Amer.

The dazzling duo were instrumental in most of the best moves of Mahdi Ali’s slick side, between them providing the assists for nine of the 10 goals in an utterly one-sided Asian zone Group A encounter.

The UAE now lead the pool on six points, three ahead of second-place Saudi Arabia and Palestine, who are separated by goal difference.

Palestine look set to provide a far tougher examination of the Whites’ World Cup qualification credentials than the abject Malaysians did.

Aside from the fact that they will be fired up by their first competitive fixture on home territory, they also possess two wily midfielders of their own with goalscoring prowess to boot.

Sameh Maraaba and Tamer Seyam, both aged 23, accounted for four of their country’s goals in the 6-0 romp away to Malaysia in June, Palestine’s second qualifier after a battling 3-2 defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Maraaba has a strike rate a leading forward would be proud of, too, having notched 10 goals in 14 matches with the Olympic and senior teams.

Speaking to in Germany, where Palestine have been preparing for next week’s encounter in the West Bank, he hailed his side’s prospects against the UAE and in the group as a whole. He said: “Despite the defeat [to Saudi Arabia] in Dammam, we got over our fears and are now convinced that we can compete with all of our group opponents. Playing the UAE has got all the players really motivated.

“We want to find our way to goal again and pick up a win that would be very significant for us.”

Tuesday’s match will be held on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where Seyam was born and learnt his trade with the Abna Al Quds club. “Simply pulling on the national jersey and playing in Jerusalem is already a wonderful thing,” Seyam, who has netted an impressive 18 times for Thakafi Tulkarm in the West Bank Premier League, said.

“The fact that the match is an important step toward World Cup qualification will make this a real celebration. I’m sure our supporters will turn up in good numbers and give us great support, and I hope that we’ll be smiling as the final whistle goes.”

He added: “Everyone feared for us after we lost in injury time against the Saudis, but we put that to the back of our minds as we travelled to Malaysia so that we could achieve what was expected of us.

“When I found out I was starting the game, I wanted to show the coach he’d made the right decision, which I was able to do with the help of my teammates, who enabled me to score twice and provide an assist. It was a tremendous victory all-round.”

Positive and prodigious, Palestine’s two tyros’ duel with the UAE’s Omar and Amer is set to be a fascinating sub-plot in what will be a historic occasion to savour.

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2015. All rights reserved.

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