England can be the real deal, says Colman
Motti Colman believes the addition of Josh Lipman and Yishai Last can help take his England FC squad to the next level at the forthcoming Olim World Cup.
A former MGBSFL Player of the Year, Lipman is the latest player from Hendon United Sports Club to make Aliyah and Colman is confident his winning mentality can rub off on his teammates in the 24-team event.
"In Josh, we have one of the finest MSFL players of all time and I very excited to be lining up alongside him again," said Colman.
A good run in the tournament would enable Last to help England’s cause. "We are also hoping that if we make it far enough in the competition, then we will also be joined by Yishai Last who has banged in the goals for Hendon this season."
Under Colman, England will be looking to improve on their performance that saw them reach the last 16 at the competition last year.
He said: "Sam Sank has emerged as one of the best defenders in the Olim League this year, Zack has an incredible eye for goal and Gav Cohen is probably the toughest opponent that I have personally come up against in the last two seasons.
"Adding those players to the ones from last season, including the great Nicky Plotnek, and we are confident that we have improved dramatically.
Having played at the Maccabiah Games, in the MGBSFL and at Club five-a-side level in Israel, Colman described the standard of the Ghetton tournament as "very high". He said: "Last year’s tournament featured ex-pro’s from the top league here in Israel, as well as many players from the Israeli national Futsal team. It is a very tough competition played in stifling heat."
Asked about England's chances this time, he added: "The defeats in latter rounds in previous years have been a lot more due to the availability of players rather than the performances of the team.
"We are hoping that if we stay together throughout the event this year, then we stand a very good chance of going further than before."
The England boss is confident his squad is stronger than 12 months ago, with Gav, Sam, Zack and Lipman making their debuts in the competition.
"In years gone by the best teams have been Israel, Argentina and Nigeria. I was also very impressed last year with Italy. The Italians had a boy called Luca Moresco who is a top player, and France have Jonathon Assous formerly of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
"I still think I am bruised from the encounter we had with the French team last year, so avoiding any of the above would certainly make our path a little easier."
Colman believes the the teams in this tournament reflect the cultural and football characteristics of their respective countries. "Very much so," he said. "Having had the opportunity for almost 10 years to play against teams from other countries, it never fails to surprise me just how much everyone lives up to their stereotypes.
"Having been knocked out on penalties last year, it’s our job to change the stereotype of English teams and actually win this tournament."
The profile of the Ghetton competition has improved in recent years. "The competition is run by an Italian guy called Yasha Maknouz who is quite simply one of the best organisers I have ever met," said Colman.
"He is an incredibly nice guy that has a serious passion for arranging five-a-side leagues. He has run huge competitions in Italy, and after making Aliyah he has brought that same desire here. He has found a big gap in the market as arranged five-a-side has never really been a part of the culture here, with most players historically opting for pick-up games at parks.
"The football playing community here has jumped at the chance to be involved and the competition has grown in stature and prestige every year, and I am sure this year will be no different."
SQUAD: Rob Bradman (Aviv City), Motti Colman (England FC) (capt), Nicky Plotnek (England FC), Sam Sank (England FC), Lollu Hibbert (Jerualem FC), Josh Lipman (Hendon A), Gav Cohen (Jerusalem FC), Zack Lewis (Jerusalem FC), Moishe Lewis (Jerusalem FC), Sam Silverberg (FC Jaffa), Yishai Last (Hendon A)