Maccabi giants ready to stand up and be counted


The quarter-finals of Cyril Anekstein Cup take centre stage this weekend as MGBSFL players return following a two-week winter break.

There are two stand-out ties as North London Raiders A host Harmen while Hendon United Sports Club A plays Redbridge Jewish Care A. I can see home advantage holding the key, while the other two matches are easier to predict.

Hendon’s injury list shows signs of easing, although Dovi Fehler and Simon Peterman will miss the big match and talisman Greg Corin is doubtful.

Boss David Garbacz described the meeting as Hendon’s “biggest of the season”. He said: “A win will kick-start our season whereas a loss could finish it off in early January. I’m confident our cup pedigree will shine through.”

Oakwood B are missing Dan Geey, Dan Ash, Dan Seligman and Dan Selwyn for the trip to Premier Division FC Team A, but manager Jason Stein believes his team can spring a surprise.

"We’re the underdogs, there is no question, but we’ve worked hard to get here and we believe in ourselves,” he said.

"This is somewhat of a free hit for us and we’ll go out on Sunday, work hard for one another, keep it tight, try and reduce the unforced errors and give it our best shot. I firmly believe we can win this match."

Oakwood A are due some silverware and I expect them to have too much firepower for Premier Division rivals Camden Park.
The Oaks have made a solid start and joint-manager Dan Kristall told me they are ready to kick on in the new year.

He said: “We have a fairly full squad to select from with some late fitness tests over a couple of defenders and we look forward to what is the first of three huge games.

"We are firmly focused on this week’s quarter-final and fully believe that we have the squad to win this competition.

"After a very hard-fought and narrow victory against Camden a couple of months ago we’re expecting another very tough test, but if our big players shine we should advance."

Camden have been dealt a blow with news that Guy Marks has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a slipped disc, but boss Will Castle reports they have a few players back from injury for the crunch clash.

"We gave Oakwood a good run for their money last time out with a severely depleted team so we definitely fancy our chances of getting through to the next round, although we know Oakwood are an extremely tough test."

* It would be remiss of me not to mention my award winners for December.

North London Raiders A wonder kid Oscar Wagner enjoyed a memorable month. He hit the target three times, including the
winner over arch rivals Hendon United Sports Club A with a moment of pure genius.

David Pollock and Adam Klein did well to lift Maccabi London Lions up to third in the Premier Division, but the top manager accolade goes, once again, to Rob Richman of Raiders who have won every game in Jewish football this season.

Reiss Mogilner continues to grab the headlines as the standout player in Division One, while Zak McLeod and Elliott Espinoza were the top performers for the all-conquering Scrabble FC in bottom tier. McLeod has won the award already this season so I’m giving it to midfield maestro Espinoza.

* Sam Rank will manage Redbridge Jewish Care B for the rest of the season following the departure of Jason Goldstein. Rank will be assisted by Richie Caplin.

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