Team GB looking for some new heroes to reign in Spain
The Team GB squad looks in good shape to defend their European Maccabi Games Football Trophy in Spain this weekend.
Managed by UJS Norstar A's Phil Peters and his assistant Jamie Slavin, GB looked in top shape in two warm-up friendlies this week. Nicky Woolf was the star. The North London Raiders striker hit four against UJS Norstar and five against London Maccabi Lions B. Jeff Gotch, Mitch Lassman, Jerome Marks (2) and Laurence Judah, Joel Lassman and skipper Lewis Blitz also registered.
Although preparations for the trip have gone gone, the group were dealt a blow when keeper Ziggy Lichman and Jonny Kaye withdrew.
Peters said: "All the boys coming to Spain are desperate to win themselves a place in the starting 11 and really showed that desire. We're going to have some tough decisions to make but this result has filled us with confidence."
Slavin commented: "We know the Spanish and Germans will be tough to beat but confidence is sky high and there's still more to come."
The EMFT is clearly the poor relation behind the Maccabiah Games, European Maccabi Games and Pan American Games, but I believe that it remains important as it gives an opportunity to boys who may not otherwise taste international Jewish football. It's also a great opportunity to test themselves against fellow Jews from around the continent.
● Two MSFL stalwarts have bid farewell to the league. Southgate Harmen midfielder and club captain Jonathan Hirshler has retired. A servant of the club for 17 years, Hirshler, 32, surprised many at the club by hanging up his boots following the 2-0 win over Oakwood. One of the founder members of the club, Hirshler has decided to spend more time with his two boys on Sunday mornings after helping to guide Harmen from Division Five to what they hope will be the top level of Jewish football next season.
Hirshler commented: "Playing for Harmen these past 10 years has been an honour and a privilege. I'm looking forward to bringing my boys along to the Mole next season to support the boys from the sidelines. They're a great bunch and with Dan Uzan and Andy Okin at the helm, there's no question that we are heading in the right direction."
Darren Saffer, the veteran Camden Park striker, has also called it a day in the MSFL. Saffer, 40, said: "I may play a few games here and there in the Masters, but I need to give the body a while to recover. It's been knocked about a bit in the past 24 years and it needs a proper rest. It's normally three days until I can move properly after a game on Sunday these days.
"I've had a great time at Kenton, Mill Hill and Camden Park and had some great teammates, without who I would probably have retired years ago. I always played to enjoy myself, and obviously score a few goals on the way, and at Camden that's exactly what we all wanted. It's a shame Camden never got the glory they merited and deserved, but I think that we enjoyed the underdog tag."
Paying tribute to the striker who won MSFL Player of the Year in 2000/01, and once scored a hat-trick past me, North West Neasden B joint-manager Ryan Glynne said: "I've played against him several times over the last 10 years. He's a great striker and I hope he doesn't hang his boots up for good."
● Daniel Cole, the London Lions and North West Neasden player, is moving to New York. His brother, Jamie, who co-manages Neasden, said: "I want to thank Dan for his contribution over the last three seasons."