Football

Avram Grant's anger at African Cup losses

By James Martin, December 30, 2009

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant has expressed anger at losing four key men to the African Cup of Nations.

He is without Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda, Nwankwo Kanu and Aruna Dindane until as late as the start of February when the tournament is completed. He is relieved that John Utaka and Kevin-Prince Boateng were not called up by Nigeria and Ghana respectively.

Speaking after the Boxing Day 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers West Ham, he said: “I don’t know why FIFA allows this tournament to go ahead in January. We pay a lot of money to big players who are not here for two months.”

More..

Bayern Munich chase Haifa's Golasa

By James Martin, December 23, 2009

Maccabi Haifa’s teenage sensation Eyal Golasa has reportedly attracted the interest of German giants Bayern Munich.

German newspaper Bild claim that Munich are facing competition from fellow Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen for his signature.

The 18-year-old midfielder impressed scouts of the Bavarian giants with a number of outstanding performances during Haifa's Champions League campaign and Munich are reportedly keen to add Golasa to their squad in the summer of 2010.

More..

Bafana Bafana quit MSFL

By Danny Caro and James Martin, December 23, 2009

Premier Division Bafana Bafana have become the fourth team to fold this season, with player-manager Adam Gishen reluctantly pulling out the MSFL side because he was “struggling to field a team”.

The club, which finished seventh last year, were lying second bottom with a win and draw from six games. And Gishen admitted this week: “It’s stopped being fun.”

More..

John Gregory 'not qualified to coach in Israel'

By Simon Griver, December 23, 2009

Former Aston Villa boss John Gregory’s future as manager of Maccabi Ahi Nazareth is uncertain because he is not qualified to coach in Israel.

Only coaches with Uefa qualifications are allowed to stand on the touchline during matches.

The Israel FA received a letter from the English FA on Monday which said: “John Gregory has the FA Full Badge. Although this is not valid and approved by Uefa, it was still an official qualification within England at the time it was taken.”

More..

Convicted fraudster to help Pompey

By Simon Griver and Danny Caro, December 23, 2009

Israeli lawyer Daniel Azougy, a convicted fraudster, is reportedly in charge of managing struggling Premier League club Portsmouth’s finances.

Azougy, who was brought in by owner Ali Al Faraj last week to try to reduce the club’s £60 million debt, was convicted on four counts of fraud and sentenced to five months in prison in 2001 by the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court.

In 2002 he was found guilty in the Tel Aviv District Court of obstructing the course of justice by showing false documents to judges.

More..

Tel Aviv face a round-Rubin

December 23, 2009

Hapoel Tel Aviv will face Russian champions Rubin Kazan in the Europa League Round of 32, after beating Hamburg 1-0 at home to finish top of Group 3, thanks to an early strike by Samuel Yeboa.

The Israelis will travel to Russia on February 18, with the return at Bloomfield Stadium on February 25.

More..

Tricky Europa League draw for Hapoel

By Marcus Dysch, December 18, 2009

Hapoel Tel Aviv face a tricky visit to Russia to play Rubin Kazan in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League.

Rubin were the surprise package of the Champions League group stages, securing a memorable victory over Barcelona at the Nou Camp in October before eventually finishing third in their group.

Hapoel successfully negotiated Group C in the initial stage of the Europa League, winning the group ahead of Hamburg and eliminating Celtic in the process.

The two-leg tie will take place over a week in February, with the first leg on February 18 and the return fixture on February 25.

More..

Five goals from Resnick keeps Hawks winning streak

By Danny Caro, December 17, 2009

Five goals from goal-poacher Joshua Resnick saw Hendon Hawks B Under 10s continue their winning streak in the MGBPFL with an 8-5 victory over Hendon Inter Schools B. David Amor (2) and Shmuli Miller completed the rout while keeper Eli Meyer saved a penalty.

London Maccabi Lions White beat Pinner JFC 11-0 in the Watford Friendly League Under 16 League Cup with goals from Yoav Kestenbaum (3), keeper Arthur Caplin (2), Sam Lewis 2, Joshua Cinna, Joel Greyson, Joel Shaw.

More..

Atar in running for Goal of the Season

December 17, 2009

Bnei Yehuda’s Eliran Atar is in the running for FIFA’s Goal of the Season award, which will be presented in Zurich on Monday. The top-scorer in Israel’s Premier League last season, Atar, 22, netted with a superb scissors- kick against Maccabi Netanya in the 1-1 draw last February. He joins nine other contenders for the inaugural Puskas Award for the best goal scored in the world in the 2008/09 season.

Atar is up against the likes of Cristian Ronaldo, Fernando Torres, Emmanuel Adebayor, Michael Essien and Andreas Iniesta.

More..

Eyal Berkovic lined up for Israel job

By Simon Griver, December 17, 2009

Talks which could result in Eyal Berkovic succeeding Dror Kashtan as Israel’s manager have begun.

The former Manchester City star recently met Israel FA chairman Avi Luzon and persuaded him that he is capable of leading the national team to the Euro 2012 finals.

Luzon has repeatedly insisted that Berkovic has no coaching experience so is not suitable. But he has sought to appoint a leading foreign coach after Israel ended their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign fourth behind Switzerland, Greece and Latvia.

More..