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Palestine coach departs in blow for Asian Cup preparations

The 41-year-old Jordanian, who took charge in 2011, quit citing personal reasons

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Palestine's preparations for the Asian Cup have been dealt a blow with the resignation of head coach Jamal Mahmoud.

The 41-year-old Jordanian, who took charge in 2011, quit on Wednesday citing personal reasons, the Asian Football Confederation said on its website (www.the-afc.com) on Thursday.

Assistant coach Saeb Jendeya has been named interim replacement.

Palestine were the last team to earn an Asian Cup berth after winning the AFC Challenge Cup in the Maldives.

They have four friendlies scheduled in the leadup to the Jan. 9-31 Asian Cup, two against India on Oct. 8 and 10, followed by an Oct. 14 meeting with Morocco and a match with China in December.

Palestine have been drawn with defending champions Japan, 2007 winners Iraq and Jordan in Group D.