West Bank hosts Asia Cup football qualifiers

Published: Updated:

The Palestinian town of Al-Ram hosted the Women’s Asian Cup football qualifiers for five days.

The Palestinian team finished last in group D, after losing 6-0 to Chinese Taipei in the opening match.

Despite failing to qualify, the Palestinian Olympic committee head, Jibril Rajoub, said the Palestinian territories want to host more sporting events, “For us, what was important for us during the tournament was for the Palestinian team to qualify, for sports as a family, we want to be able to continue to host a series of tournaments in the future,” said Jibril Rajoub, who is also the chairman of the Palestinian Football Association.

The region now wants to build on the growth of women’s soccer.

“We expected that the [Palestinian] performance to be negative in some matches but we didn’t expect to lose. But if we compare the history of other teams to the Palestinian team, they’ve been playing soccer for 25 to 30 years, they have academies dedicated solely to professional soccer. But football for our players is a hobby,” said Ayat Safin, women’s soccer representative at the Palestinian Football Association.

The event ended with a 1-1 draw between India and Palestine while Myanmar played against Chinese Taipei on Saturday.

The matches were played at Faisal al-Husseini stadium in al-Ram, near the West Bank town of Ramallah. The Palestinian team finished its campaign in the championship with one point.

Palestinian soccer has seen a revival in the West Bank since August 2007 with the re-launch of a semi-professional league that was suspended after a violent uprising against Israel erupted in 2000.