Hapoel Jerusalem heads into Galatasaray test with renewed energy following Ofir Engel’s release from Hamas in Gaza

Nov 30, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Jerusalem takes on Galatasaray on Thursday (20:30) in Bosnia and Herzegovina as they look to get back onto the winning track following a tight loss at PAOK two weeks ago. The Reds are currently 2-1 in group play as Aleksandar Dzikic’s squad enter the game with renewed energy after Ofir Engel, a fan of the team was released by Hamas.

The Engel family have been stalwart supporters of Hapoel Jerusalem throughout the years and father Yoav has worked with the club with Shalva where he manages the sports programs.
Both Yovel Zoosman and Oz Blayzer were very excited that 17-year old Ofir was now safe and sound back with his family.

“I understand that Ofir Engel is returning home, with the hope and expectation that he will come back healthy and sound, in body and soul. It’s really something very, very exciting,” Zoosman said prior to the game.

Oz Blayzer – Photo Credit: FIBA

Oz Blazer added, “Our thoughts are with the people in Israel and with the soldiers, all of them with the great hope that all those being held hostage will return home. We are very happy to hear that Ofir is coming home and are hoping that everyone will return soon. We want to win for them.”

Blayzer also looked ahead to the game itself, “I think that we have gotten into the rhythm a little bit more than the last game and despite the break we have become even more connected as a team. I think we have to be very aggressive, limit their guards because they are very talented offensively, concentrate on doing what we need to do, be who we are, play aggressive and together. If we do that I believe that the results will be good.”

Yovel Zoosman – Photo Credit: FIBA

Zoosman also spoke about what Jerusalem will need to do in order to get the win, “In the games we had against them, the score reached 90 points or even more. Our strengths are mainly on defense and we need to pay more attention to our strengths. I believe that we will come very prepared and know very well what we want from ourselves in this game, I hope we will see that too.”

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