Star qualities will drive Maccabi sport to another level

By Danny Caro, January 13, 2011
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This year looks set to be a tough one for amateur sport. With numbers declining in competitive football and cricket nationwide, it is no surprise that the MSFL has lost a third team.

Maccabi GB have picked a good 'un in Michael Ziff. Once he takes over as chairman from Stuart Greenberg, he will have to address some big issues. The pair will work closely during the next few months to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.

A sporting all-rounder, Ziff is passionate about driving more young people into Jewish cricket with the ultimate goal of setting up a Jewish super-club.

The idea did not go down well with everyone, but to date, no-one else has come forward with a viable alternative. With homes in Leeds and London, he is sure to have the interests of the entire nation at heart.

A passionate Yorkshire CC fan, Ziff is also big on football and rugby, and I think that he is the right appointment at the right time. He once got me out in a cricket match, although I don't hold it against him.

I've also been impressed by the work of Daniel Collins, Maccabi's next vice-chairman. In his role as Head of Sport, he has shown a very hands-on approach and made strides in helping cement the future of Jewish cricket.

He has also helped take Maccabi Masters football to another level. As player-manager of the Maccabi Masters Rep Team and Brady Maccabi, his winning mentality and ability to attract top players has taken them to another level.

So it's fair to say that the future of Jewish sport could not be in better hands.

● So, with the demise of London Maccabi Lions B, the MSFL is now down to 50 teams. You have to feel for Danny Reuben, the head of the club's Sunday section. He raises some valid points in his explanation for the demise. Like me, he cannot understand how the youth of today do not drop everything for a game of football. I remember playing in Hendon Park until 10pm during the week although this is not something that I would encourage today. The question has been asked why the club folded their B team rather than their Cs and promote from within, but Reuben told me that "with the C team bottom of Division One, the club voted against.

In a year of the European Maccabi Games, it was not the start that Jewish football was hoping for, and the chances are that it may not be the last before the season ends.

● While one team is struggling, another is on the up. Pinner JFC have been boosted by the acquisition of left-winger Asher Levin, an ex-Notts County youth player. Manager Vivian Emanuel describes him as "very capable".

● England fans will recall how the team was uplifted by Jerusalem in the dressing room during the 2009 Ashes. Well, there was a familiar tune around the SCG on the last day of the recently concluded series.

A montage of the series during the rain break was accompanied by Hava Nagila. Perhaps this explains why Graham Swann, James Anderson and Chris Tremlett ripped out the tail so quickly.

● I'm almost as fed up over the brand Beckham circus at Spurs as I am of the Avram Grant situation at West Ham.

I've heard that there could be
developments over the weekend with owners David Gold and David Sullivan at loggerheads over whether to
stick or twist. Word has it that Sullivan has lost patience and wants Grant
out.

There's clearly no love lost between manager Avram Grant and director Karren Brady either.

Responding to news that Brady discussed Steve Sidwell's aborted move to Upton Park in her newspaper column, the Israeli said: "I didn't read the column so I don't know what she said. Maybe I will have a column in a newspaper and say what I think."

Avram, you know where we are ...

    Last updated: 2:18pm, January 13 2011