Benayoun earns Israel recall for Croatia friendly


Yossi Benayoun expressed delight after he was recalled to the Israel squad for next week’s friendly away to Croatia after an absence of two years.

Benayoun had made it clear that he expected to return to the national fold following a string of impressive displays for Maccabi Haifa, and interim-manager Alon Hazan has obliged.

Having earned a record 96 caps, Benayoun, 35, who was out of favour with former boss Eli Guttman, now hopes to reach 100 appearances.

Benayoun said: “To be in the Israel team and wear the national colours has always been a matter of great pride for me, so I couldn’t be happier to receive this call-up.”

Israeli Druze midfielder Kenny Sayef has also been drafted in. Sayef joins Rami Gershon who also played a key role in helping Gent reach the Champions League round of 16. The experienced Tal Ben Haim has been left out.

The Israel Football Association will interview four candidates for the national team manager vacancy.

Israel under-19 manager Eli Ohana, former Charlton manager Guy Luzon, Ran Ben-Shimon and Elisha Levy will battle it out to lead Israel in the World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

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