By Sammy Baroud
Oday Dabbagh, the 24-year-old Palestinian talent, scored two goals on Saturday against Estoril Praia to take his team, F.C. Arouca, to 7th in the Liga Portugal standings.
His brilliant brace included an acrobatic goal in the 28th minute and a tidy finish courtesy of a great assist from his Brazilian teammate Antony Alves Santos.
After a transfer to Arouca from Kuwait’s Al-Arabi SC in 2021, Dabbagh hadn’t found form this great until the current 2022/23 season where he showed the entire Portuguese top flight just how prolific he can be in front of goal.
— SPORT TV (@SPORTTVPortugal) January 7, 2023
The young Jerusalemite’s double on Saturday brought him to four goals in eight appearances in Liga Portugal, making him his club’s highest scorer in the league so far. He is also currently at 7 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions for Arouca this season giving him a rate of nearly 54 goals, or more than a goal every two games.
The young Palestinian striker has indeed proved that he is a gifted footballer but what Dabbagh represents for Palestinians is much greater than football.
The former Hilal Al-Quds player is the first of his kind. He broke the barrier and has shown that it is possible for Palestinian internationals to perform in top European leagues just as he has and his presence and performance in Portugal is a spark for a bright future of Palestinian football.
— VSPORTS (@vsports_pt) January 7, 2023
With the 2023 AFC Asian cup in Qatar on the horizon and the North American World Cup 2026 in 4 years, Palestinian football fans can rally around Dabbagh among other national team stars, and have a team that we all can root for, not just to play but to compete and to win.
‘Football Palestine’ editor and writer Bassil Mikdadi recently wrote in the Palestine Chronicle:
“Palestinian football has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years and with the World Cup expanding from 32 to 48 teams there is a very real chance Palestine could qualify for the North American World Cup in 2026.”
With the Palestine National Team at its best, only time will tell if Dabbagh will lead his country to glory in the years to come.
(The Palestine Chronicle)
– Sammy Baroud is a young Palestinian-American Sports Writer and an aspiring footballer. He contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle. Follow him @sammybaroud