1) The Israel National Basketball team continued to prepare for two crucial World Cup qualifiers next Thursday against Greece in Tel Aviv and then on the following Monday in Glasgow versus Great Britain. Tomorrow, Friday Israel host’s Ukraine in an exhibition game in Beer Sheva as part of the Negev Sal Project as the Israel Basketball Association continues its efforts to promote the sport in the areas around Beer Sheva. Tickets are free for the game that begins at 4pm and children from communities around the city will be attending the clash. Head Coach Oded Katash spoke about the purpose of tomorrow’s game, “We always want to win but the game is preparation for the tough qualifying games we have coming up. I’ll be using the lineups that I want to use for those games in order for me to learn as much as possible.” Katash continued, “We are underdogs in both of these tough games. We have to play exceptionally well in order to win and this is a huge challenge that we have in front of us, one that I hope we can stand up to.”
2) American left back Jonathan Bornstein signed with Maccabi Netanya for the upcoming season. The American international with 38 caps has played in Mexico since 2011 for Querétaro, Tigres and Atlante while he played with Chivas USA beforehand. Since Bornstein has a Jewish parent he can become an Israeli citizen and not count against the league’s foreigner limitation. The new immigrant told Brian Sciaretta of American Soccer Now, “I think it’s an interesting league because they do get to play in the Champions League and the Europa,” Bornstein explained. “I want to help Maccabi Netanya get into one of those tournaments – for the club, for the players, it’s always on a big stage in those types of tournaments. Those are the best games to watch. To have the opportunity to maybe play in those tournaments would be a dream come true and it is one of the reasons why I am making the move over there.”
3) Hapoel Beer Sheva not only released their 2018/19 kits but also announced that they have extended Head Coach Barak Bachar’s contract until the end of the 2022 season. Owner Alona Barkat looked ahead to the upcoming campaign, “We want to continue to be successful in league play and there’s a challenge waiting for us but of course we what to win another championship. We are making strides every season in Europe and I’d be happy if we continue this year as well.” Bachar also spoke, “We are expecting a very tough challenge but I can say that after the first few training sessions I saw how hungry the players are.”
Quick Hits – Midfidler Gal Arel extended his contract with Hapoel Haifa and Eli Elbaz who played with Apollon Smyrni last season signed with the club as well…Winger Or Inbrum was loaned to Beitar Jerusalem from Gent…Right Back Omer Vered signed with Hapoel Raanana.