home news contact venue fun sponsors

Our goalkeeper is dead

In 1937 a Palestinian team played in the World Cup qualifiers. It was sixty-four years later that FIFA admitted a Palestinian side again. They failed to qualify. The current intifada has posed serious problems for the Palestine Football Federation. The national league has been cancelled and the cup is off. Players from Gaza and the West Bank have been unable to train together.

cover pic

The Palestinian Football Federation sends 2 teams for matches abroad, Gaza and the West Bank side. Most games are played in other Arab countries: the teams cross the Israeli-controlled land border into either Jordan or Egypt, then fly from there.

There are 16 first division clubs in the West Bank. Shabab Al-Bireh (a Ramallah team founded in 1964) are one of the best. Rami, their center forward, also plays for the West Bank side. They are sponsored by Coke and Diadora. Their goalkeeper was killed by the Israeli army in November 2000.

John Perkins
Ramallah and the West Bank 2001

thumbnails | clickthrough | photographer's notes