Inter Aliyah ready to take on Israel's finest


group of Brits are spearheading a new football club's ambitious bid to reach Israel's top-tier.

Inter Aliyah FC - a team formed of players who moved to Israel - have entered into Liga Gimmel.

They might be five divisions away from reaching the Ligat Ha'al, but the part-time side have set their sights on playing the likes of Maccabi Tel Aviv in the future.

Captain Sam Sank, who made aliyah in 2009, is among the crop of player who used to play in the MGBSFL.

He admits battling through the red tape to help create the club from nothing was worth the stress.

Sank, orginally from Stanmore, said: "It's been a lot of hard work put in from everyone. There have been a lot of boxes to tick to ensure we can compete at this level.

"It's a 10-year project for us to reach the top division. I would love to tell my kids one day that I played at a professional level. Reaching the top is driving us all on.

"As a registered club with the Israeli FA it's possible we could be playing against Hapeol Beer Sheva or Maccabi Tel Aviv in the cup next season. That's an amazing prospect for us."
Ecuador's Ricardo Horvath, who is the chairman, is the brains behind the idea and approached the Israeli FA in the summer.

A board was formed, sponsors came on board and the £15,000 funds required to play was soon raised.

Sank, 26, added: "We are sponsored by Crossfit, which is a lifesaver, but we also need our own medical insurance. There's your ground, pitch, a doctor and referees. The list was endless. But that's the difference between a Sunday league team and oursleves.

"This is all very serious. We are not paid and do it for the love of playing. And who knows where we can be as a club in a few years’ time?"

Inter Aliyah, who used to play in the Olim League under Inter Tel Aviv, features a cosmopolitan team of Germans, Swiss, Italians, Spaniards, South Americans and Brit expats.

Ex-West Brom trainee Nicky Plotnik is among the key players in a team managed by Jerome Katz.

Sank said "We play our home matches in Jaffa but it means we currently have to play in the Friday afternoon heat. That's not easy but it is has not put any of us off the adventure. And we have some quality players who have played at semi-pro level in their respective countries.

"If we can make it to fourth division within two years it would represent success. It's very hard to get out of league, but success won't come without trying."

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