Not so long ago, the prospect of an exclusively Jewish team winning a Futsal league title in England was little more than a lovely pipe dream. Let’s face it, not many had even heard of the sport.
I’ve attended numerous European Maccabi Games where the British boys were chasing shadows, most of the time, and playing catch-up, especially against the eastern European nations. But caught up they now have and the Maccabi GB Futsal team’s progress is proof of what can be achieved in a reasonably short space of time.
People such as Jonathan Cohen and Adam Lustigman deserve much credit for buying into the philosophy, but the project has now reached a new level under Jon Kurrant. His blend of youth and experience has worked wonders, with the likes of Alex Norman and Alex Olcot hitting it off perfectly with Dean Benzaken, Jonah Gordon-Boyd and Scott Shulton. Who’d have thought that the former Wycombe Wanderers starlet would return such an unbelievable goals-to-games ratio?
Going forward, the side’s success can only be good for future Team Maccabi GB squads competing on the international stage. In the past there have been times when we’ve sent team to make up the numbers, but that’s no longer the case. The learning curve has certainly paid dividends and Kurrant and co deserve all the credit they get.
There’s no danger of Maccabi GB resting on their laurels. In fact, they have the bit between their teeth, with Kurrant saying: "We really wish to engage the youngsters and have planned holiday futsal clinics for the Jewish community in April which we hope will be extremely popular and further expose the sport."
* When I think of Israel at the Winter Olympics, right away Cool Runnings, one of my favourite films, springs to mind. Sadly they’re not involved in the Bobsleigh competition and the odds of us hearing the Hatikvah after a medal-winning performance in Sochi are about as good as finding a parking space outside Carmelli’s in Golders Green.
Taylor Gold, however, is something of a better bet. But if she does win a medal, her mum won’t see it as she keeps her eyes firmly shut while her 17-year-old daughter is performing, risking life and limb on the slippery slopes.
* Phil Peters this week paid tribute to Zak Mcleod following his proposed move to Los Blancos. He said: "We are pleased Zak will stay in England and is following in the footsteps of great Norstar and Raiders players like Josh and Jono Gaon and Nick Grosse who made the same move in recent times. "He is happy in this country and it is good that Jewish football retains such a talented player.
"Zak moves with our full blessing and I can speak on behalf of everyone at the club in thanking him for his fantastic service and wishing him well for his future."
* Darren Yarlett has left Wingate & Finchley under-21’s to take up a full-time role as coach of Takeley FC, where he joins boss Tony Gold and assistant-manager Steve Grenfell. The trio led London Lions to the Spartan South Midlands League Division One title last season.