The Israeli sports scene is somewhat getting back into gear as the war against Hamas is still creating challenges for clubs teams in various sports.
Hapoel Tel Aviv is still searching for a home court, however, they have been doing just fine on the road with a 111-72 win at Hamburg. The Reds controlled he pace of play throughout the clash and finished with a half a dozen players in double digits as Xavier Munford scored 22 points, Braian Angola added 18 points and grabbed 11 boards while Jaylen Hoard chipped in with 18 points as well.
Following the game, Head Coach Danny Franco spoke about the club’s situation, “I would like to send my appreciation to the Hamburg Towers organization for hosting us during these uncomfortable days for the entire team. It’s not taken for granted. The hospitality was amazing and we just wanted to try and focus on just basketball. For 40 minutes it was part of a mental escape for everything going on around us and for traveling around Europe to play basketball which is not what we are used to. We have a lot of casualties from our fan base and this club is built by the fans and are a major part of the organization. So it is kind of painful days. I am happy that we gave 40 minutes of some good feelings to the hundreds of people who came to support us, that was amazing. For everybody that watched the game, it’s not about winning and not about losing, it’s about the spirit as they expect us to be their ambassadors during these days.”
“I am proud of my guys and organization who gave us the conditions to try to do what we know how to do which is basketball during these rough days. We are going to be a long time on the road and even though we had good conditions here, it’s not the day to day routine. Living in a hotel for a week is not what you are used to or having the family around, it doesn’t matter if it’s sports, but people know the beautiful life that we have in Israel epically in a city like Tel Aviv which is amazing. They feel that it is not the same atmosphere and guys are trying to focus. I have to give it to the guys, Bar Timor, Tomer Ginat and Idan Zalmanson are 3 Israeli veterans are really carrying the guys, explaining to them and showing them the way. They are the core of the success and pride. We want to give a huge hug to all the families that really need us and we will try to get back together soon. But the next challenge is ahead of us. Hopefully, we will have quiet days and peaceful days in Israel; and everywhere. That is what we want for everybody.”
The Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball club has found a temporary location in Belgrade for their home games until the war ends. The first home game so to speak will be held on November 9th against Bayern Munich while the November 2nd game against Real Madrid will be postponed to a later date. The yellow-and-blue have two road games coming up at Monaco this Thursday evening and will then tip-off against Milan next Tuesday in Italy.
In UEFA Champions League action Red Star Belgrade’s Israeli coach Barak Bachar gave a passionate talk during his club’s pre-match press conference as they readied to play Red Bull Leipzig on the road.
“We are sitting here in Germany and German clubs, like Mainz, Bayern and Dortmund have spoken up and chose to stand up and be with the right side. However, there are people in a dark sea of silence. My country is bleeding. My family, wife and 3 kids are sheltering every day and every night. Just an hour ago there were bombs (missiles) near the house. A lot of people are broken, body and soul. But I want the world to know one important thing, that no one will break us and no one will break the Israeli spirit, because we have no choice. Am Yisrael Chai.”
Israeli starlet Oscar Gloukh who plays for Red Bull Salzburg scored in a 2-1 loss at Inter Milan. Gloukh wore jersey number 30 in recognition of the 30 children that are being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. After the game he mentioned as to how special it was for him and the entire country that he scored.