Sport takes back-seat for now

By Danny Caro, August 8, 2014

Sport is the last thing on the minds of the majority of Israelis right now, but it’s a way of living for so many too.

These were meant to be exciting times for professional sportsmen and women around the country, but they have had the spotlight pulled from under their feet.

In recent weeks, we have seen Champions League and Europa League matches moved to the safer haven of Cyprus and only time will tell if Israel can host their Euro 2016 qualifying matches.

With a record number of teams qualifying, losing home advantage for games against Belgium and Bosnia Herzegovenia could be crucial.

So much work has gone on behind the scenes in other sports, but it appears the effort has been wasted. Israel has also lost basketball matches to the conflict, with a host of former NBA stars, including ‘Magic’ Johnson cancelling a trip to open the Jerusalem basketball arena and play in an exhibition match.

Another sport to be hit is tennis, with the cancellation of the Negev tournament a real blow. And a decision on whether or not Israel can host the forthcoming Davis Cup match against Argentina will be made in the next few days.

* The world of Maccabi football is mourning the loss of a great friend following the passing of Ivan Levack. Ivan travelled far and wide to watch his son, Alex, play for club and country.

He was a permanent fixture on the sidelines for Faithfold, more often than not finding a quiet spot to watch on his own. He was there come rain or shine, and saw his captain marvel collect virtually every domestic prize, including the Morrison, the Inter-League Trophy and Player of the Year.

One of my first meetings with Ivan came at the European Maccabi Games in Stirling. He was beaming from ear to ear after Alex helped his country win gold.

In an age when loyalty in both amateur and professional word is something of a rarity, the tributes have been flooding in for a real mensch and a wonderful supporter.

* Boca Jewniors have been dealt a big blow ahead of the new MGBSFL season after goalkeeper Ryan Monk suffered a broken leg making a save in a pre-season friendly against Hendon United Sports Club C. Wishing him a fully and speedy recovery.

Last updated: 11:43am, August 8 2014