Basger wins MSFL Player of the Year


London Maccabi Lions earned a win double at the JC MSFL end of season awards on Monday night with two players scooping the top individual awards.

Defender Louis Basger won Player of the Year while midfielder Yoav Lebens claimed the Young Player title.

A hedge fund portfolio analyst, Basger, 26, was something of a surprise choice as he missed the run-in after moving to Geneva for work reasons. "It's pretty awesome recognition and a great honour," said Basger, who has had two cartilage operations. "I have to thank my teammates, as without them, I wouldn't have been carried in as many games as I was."

A former MJSL Junior Player of the Season, Basger described the award as his "greatest achievement in Jewishfootball. In his fifth season with the club, Basger helped the Lions win the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup, but he admits that fitness concens may have caught up with him. "The campaign was a little bit of a challenge if I'm honest. I didn't play as many games as I would have hoped for given travel commitments, so I struggled with fitness a little at times."

The former South Manchester Maccabi played has formed a rock solid partnership at the heart of the Lions defence alongside the evergreen Pete Lazard. As for his favourite moment, he said: "Winning the cup was the highlight of course, and the team truly deserved it. In the league, I thought we played some awesome football in patches, however we didn't show enough consistency at the beginning of the season, dropping a few too many points in the league. Then I think towards the end of the season, injuries and absence didn't help our cause."

Although Jamie Cole, the joint-manager of double winners North West Neasden A, thinks otherwise, Lions manager Eilon Kennet vindicated the decision to crown Basger. "This award is decided by votes. Louis did enough to stand out and impress everyone in the games he played. He was not just a great player but a great talisman too. It's richly deserved. He is such an influential player for us. Who knows how the games he missed would have turned out. I imagine we would have taken maximum points, from these games if he had played."

Midfielder Lebens capped a fine first season in men's football to clinch the Young Player title. He said: "This has come as a surprise. It's a great honour. I was happy with my transition from the juniors. Being at a major club, there is still so much to work on as a squad."

Kennet was full of praise for Lebens. "He also had a remarkable season. When you consider this is his first season in the senior section of the MSFL, it's even more remarkable. He has strength, commitment and passion, attributes you can't teach on top of his natural skills.

"Yoav is a born winner who plays with the qualities you'd normally associate and expect from someone with much more experience.

"I doubt if anyone came close to challenging him for this award, and the frightening thing is that he will be even better next season."

Adam Fegan and Danny Caro were named Managers of the Year after steering North London Raiders A to the Division One title.

Temple Fortune hotshot Rob Benson picked up the Golden Boot after registering 27 goals. Warwick Blake was recognised as top referee.

● Peter Morrison Trophy
Winners - NW Neasden A
Runners-up - Faithfold A

● JC Cyril Anekstein Cup
Winners - LM Lions A
Runners-up - Hendon Utd A

● JC MSFL Premier Division
Champions - NW Neasden A
Runners-up - Hendon Utd A

● Division One
Champions - North London Raiders A
Runners-up - NW Neasden B

● Division Two
Champions - NL Raiders B
Runners-up - LM Lions C

● Division Three
Champions - Woodford Wanderers
Runners-up - UJS Norstar A

● Division Four
Champions - UJIA
Runners-up - UJS Norstar B

● Player of the Year
Louis Basger (London Maccabi Lions A)

● Young Player of the Year
Yoav Lebens (LM Lions A)

● Division One
Jonny Blain (NL Raiders A)

● Division Two
Rob Benson (Temple Fortune)

● Division Three
Jerome Marks (Woodford Wanderers)

● Division Four
Matt Radstone (UJIA)

● Leading Goal-scorer
27 – Rob Benson (Temple Fortune)
26 – Edward Green (Athletic Bilbaum)
24 – Charles Bernstein (Real MAL)

● Goalkeeper of the Year
Tom Legois (FC Marylebone)

● Team managers of the year
Adam Fegan & Danny Caro (North London Raiders A)

● Sportsmanship/turnout award
Rapid Banta

● Team secretary
Darren Rolfe (UJIA)

● Referee of the Year
Warwick Blake

● Best newcomer referee
Robert Benardout

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