Palestinian football team to play in Iraq and China

RAMALLAH - The Palestinian national football team will travel to northern Iraq for a friendly on Friday followed by a visit to China, the head of the Palestinian football federation said Sunday.
"The match comes in a political and sports context, and is an expression of the Palestinian commitment to breaking the siege of Iraq and to celebrating with Iraqis the departure of American forces from Iraqi cities," Jibril Rajub told reporters in the occupied West Bank town of Ramallah.

Palestinian football team to play in Iraq and China
The two teams will play in the northern city of Arbil in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq and hope to schedule a second match in Baghdad, Rajub said.
After visiting Iraq the Palestinian team will head to China for a friendly on July 18.
Rajub also said the team's new coach Musa Bazaz, 52, a French citizen of Algerian descent, would arrive in the West Bank on Monday.
Rajub, who gained a reputation for toughness as chief of the Palestinian Authority's feared preventive security agency, has been actively promoting football since becoming federation head in May 2008.
Last year under his leadership the federation financed the construction of a stadium in the West Bank town of Al-Ram outside Jerusalem and the team played its first ever home match against Jordan in October.
Palestine has been affiliated to FIFA since 1998, even though the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip do not have statehood, and games are broadcast to the Arab world by the Saudi-owned ART television network.

Sunday, July 5th 2009

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