Photo credit: Quinn Rooney
Date taken: January 16, 2015
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
The Palestinian national football team lines up for the national anthem moments before its match against Jordan in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
This was the second of Palestine’s three group stage matches. Jordan ended up taking the win after putting five goals past Ramzi Saleh in goal. But history was made in this match. In the 85th minute, Jaka Ihbeisheh scored and recorded Palestine’s first ever goal in this elite tournament. In the photograph, Ihbeisheh is the third player from the left.
Palestine ultimately bowed out of the tournament after failing to advance into the knockout stage following the squad’s three losses. The first two matches weren’t pretty. Japan dissected Palestine’s half of the pitch and Jordan sliced through Palestine’s defensive line. The third match, against Iraq, put a much more composed Palestine on display. Although Palestine failed to convert on the golden opportunities it snuck away from Iraq, the team was overall much better defensively and showed that it will maintain its ferocity regardless of what the points table says. Stars were born on the pitch.
Palestine gained a wealth of experience in this tournament and will certainly contend for another opportunity in the next edition. Beating all the odds, the team won last year’s Challenge Cup and is looking to repeat the feat no matter what it takes. Let’s be proud of our boys. History is made in small strides.