England have announced their squad for next month’s Olim football World Cup in Tel Aviv.
Up against 23 other countries who will be taking part in the two-month event, player-manager Motti Colman will be leading the side which consists of a number of new and young players. Starting on 12 June, England will be hoping to better last year’s performance where they were defeated by Italy on penalties in the last 16.
Rob Bradman (Aviv City)
Motti Colman (England FC) (c)
Nicky Plotnek (England FC)
Sam Sank (England FC)
Lollu Hibbert (Jerualem FC)
Josh Lipman (Hendon A)
Gav Cohen (Jerusalem FC)
Zack Lewis (Jerusalem FC)
Moishe Lewis (Jerusalem FC)
Sam Silverberg (FC Jaffa)
Yishai Last (Hendon A)
Interview with Motti Colman:
Having played Maccabia, MSFL and Club 5 Aside in Israel, how good do you think the standard of the Ghetton tournament is?
Very high. Last year’s tournament featured ex pro’s from the top league here in Israel as well as many players from the Israeli national Futsal team. It is a very tough competition played in stifling heat.
England have a habit of cruising through the group and then buckling under pressure in the knockout stages, How will this year be different?
The defeats in latter rounds in previous years have been a lot more due to the availability of players rather than the performances of the team. We are hoping that if we stay together throughout the event this year, then we stand a very good chance of going further than before.
There are a number of new players in the squad, Gav Cohen, Sam Sank, Zack Lewis and Josh Lipman, is this a better England Side than last year?
In a word, yes. In Josh Lipman we have one of the finest MSFL players of all time and I very excited to be lining up alongside him again. Sam Sank has emerged as one of the best defenders in the Olim league this year, and Gav Cohen is probably the toughest opponent that I have personally come up against in the last 2 seasons. Zack has an incredible eye for goal, and we are also hoping that if we make it far enough in the competition, then we will also be joined by Yishai Last who has banged in the goals for Hendon this season. Yishai will be making Aliyah in July and would also be a fantastic addition. Adding those players to the ones from last season including the great Nicky Plotnek and we are confident that we have improved dramatically.
Who are the favorites this year and are there any players or teams you will be hoping to avoid in the group draw?
In years gone by the best teams have been Israel, Argentina and Nigeria. I was also very impressed last year with Italy. The Italians had a boy called Luca Moresco who is a top player, and France have Jonathon Assous formerly of Maccabi Tel Aviv. I still think I am bruised from the encounter we had with the French team last year, so avoiding any of the above would certainly make our path a little easier.
Do you feel the teams in this tournament, reflect the cultural and football characteristics of their respective countries?
Very much so. Having had the opportunity for almost 10 years to play against teams from other countries, it never fails to surprise me just how much everyone lives up to their stereotypes. Having been knocked out on penalties last year, it’s our job to change the stereotype of English teams and actually win this tournament.
In a very short space of time, Ghetton has gone from an Amateur organisation to the professional organizers of the national league, what do you attribute this success to?
The competition is run by an Italian guy called Yasha Maknouz who is quite simply one of the best organisers I have ever met. He is an incredibly nice guy that has a serious passion for arranging 5 aside leagues. He has run huge competitions in Italy, and after making Aliyah he has brought that same desire here. He has found a big gap in the market as arranged 5 aside has never really been a part of the culture here, with most players historically opting for pick-up games at parks. The football playing community here has jumped at the chance to be involved and the competition has grown in stature and prestige every year, and I am sure this year will be no different.