Let’s hope Montana and fair play come out on top

It’s fair to say that pretty much everyone outside of Redbridge will be rooting for Montana Boca United A on Sunday when the boys in red and black take on Chigwell Athletic A.

Redbridge Jewish Care’s decision to forfeit a recent match against North West Neasden A won them no fans as, pending a league decision, it looks set to save them from relegation and instead result in London Maccabi Lions B going down. Montana looked set to join them but last weekend’s heroic display against Neasden means that a draw against Hendon would keep them up.

Looking ahead to the game, Montana joint player-manager Elan Ovits said: “It is totally unacceptable that Premier Division clubs this season simply forfeited games and ultimately benefited from that course of action. It not only has brought the spirit of the game into disrepute, but is such a poor example to lower league clubs. We sympathise with Gavin Stollar and the Lions B and still believe that the league should act appropriately and ultimately deduct points off both Bafana and Redbridge. Anyway, as this decision is out of our hands, we can only do the real talking on the pitch and hope that justice will prevail when we play Hendon.”

Neasden’s title celebrations have been put on hold after Sunday’s match against Chigwell Athletic A was postponed as Chigwell have three players involved in the Maccabiah. The fixture will be dealt with by the management committee on June 1.

Sam Sloma has been appointed captain of the Team GB open football squad. Wingate & Finchley star Craig Ellis is vice-captain.

Jonathan Kestenbaum’s men will find out their Maccabiah Games group opponents on June 1.

Second division Southgate Harmen B have named Dan Sasto and Mark Engel, as assistant, as the new management team for next season. They replace Simon White and Paul Gold.

Sasto said: “I am thrilled to be given this opportunity along with Mark to manage the team. We are looking to taking Harmen forward and upward and have already started to make plans.Anyone interested is welcome to contact me on 07956-857428.”

Temple Fortune stalwart Phil Friend has retired after a playing career spanning more than 20 years.

One of Fortune’s longest-serving players, the Scottish-born defender joined the club in 1987. He made 424 appearances.

Goals from Greg Bradman, Darren Coone and Murray Epstein helped Bushey Old Boys win the 25th and final Ralph Epstein Memorial Match 3-2 against Temple Fortune Old Boys B. Robert Botkai and Yali Mamouri replied.

Israel’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup suffered a severe setback with their defeat in Greece earlier this year, but the task of rebuilding the national squad starts now.

I’ve pencilled August 12 into my diary because that evening the Israeli side are taking on a resurgent Northern Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast. Prior to that, they will hold a five-day training camp in England. Northern Ireland Friends of Israel are putting together an exciting package to bring over Israeli supporters for the game. The trip includes golf opportunities before the match and a tour of the parliament at Stormont.

The Northern Ireland football fans have challenged their Israeli counterparts to a special match, in aid of cross community football projects in Northern Ireland and Israel.

There must be more than a team’s worth of Maccabi footballers up for that. I’m told return flights from London or Liverpool, and accommodation, start from £99. All that and the legendary Belfast hospitality. For more information contact Steven Jaffe at nifriendsofisrael@ymail.com.

    Last updated: 3:30pm, May 21 2009