Palestinian National Team achieved Political Victory in 2015 Asian Cup Aiming for Change

By Marcelle Mansour

Palestinians in Australia and the team are proud that the Palestinian national anthem rang out in the Australian stadiums, and the flag of Palestine rose hovering above the ground and in the skies of Australia, that gave forth a resonant voice to the world.
It has indeed been a political victory of the football team of Palestine in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, despite the lack of scoring goals. For currently it is not important to Palestinian team to overcome his rivals, but it is important that it has achieved a political victory, for the mere presence in Australia and in front of the world, after a bitter agony in coming here. This team is elected from the generation coming from throughout Palestine and Diaspora, who has recently been able to participate in the Asian World Cup 2015. 
The AFC was organised by the Asian Union countries where held in Australia between January 9 to 31, 2015, that the winner of the tournament will earn the right to participate in the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament in 2017 to be hosted in Russia. This Asian Cup is a significant stage in the life of Palestinian team, to take part in the first majour international tournament since recognised by FIFA in 1998. 
It is worth mentioning that the Palestinian Football Federation was founded in 1928 in the city of Jerusalem, officially joined the Palestine International Federation of Football in1929, and participated in the World Cup in Italy qualifier in1934, and in the World Cup in Europe qualifier in1938, as the Palestinian national football team was the first Arab team to take part in the Asian World Cup qualifiers. Unfortunately, these facts of history became unknown to many because of the conditions of occupation. 
In Australia, the Palestinian team has played in Newcastle on January12 against his counterpart Japan, in Melbourne on16 against Jordon, and in Canberra on 20 against Iraq. Those did not have mercy on any of the peer-Palestinian team, especially in light of the bitter circumstances of the Palestinians, as the game was difficult to them since the beginning, but it was historically the greatest, to raise the flag, to sing the national anthem and to gain the recognition of their world.
Palestinians in Australia feel joyful and proud to see the flag and the Palestinian national anthem, telling the story of the nation’s identity in an effective way before the world.  As Mr Ahmed Hassan, Palestine national football team coach, said in a press conference to the network Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that his team came to the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia to achieve two goals, "the first one is political and the second one is sports.” The first is about Palestine’s right to exist as a free state where currently is living under the Israeli occupation, the second is to try and assert themselves competitive as athletes.
Politics is central to the Palestinian struggle and such a majour event presents the cause with a high profile. The members of football team of Palestine are considered heroes and ambassadors for their country Palestine because they have overcome many obstacles to take part in the Asian Cup and they proved to the world that they are human beings who are simply football players. They have had the opportunity to play in Australia and before the world to show who they are.
The Palestine national team received a huge support in their playing; the attendance was big and meant a great deal in paving the way for the freedom of Palestine which helps recognizing Palestine as an independent state that looking for peace.  Those who have not had the opportunity to meet the team players in person, they lived the Palestinian atmosphere through electronic communication of YouTube, Facebook and others, especially a lot of Friends have recorded live footages of the thrilling event to show the happy Palestinians while dancing dabke and wearing koffiyeh, depicting the meaning of receiving freedom. This simple act of joy and cheerfulness dominates in its simplicity all kinds of media, because the real action means the desire for future change towards freedom and an independent Free Democratic Palestinian state. 



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