Proud to represent Israel: Tomer Ginat & the National team ready for Eurobasket 2025 qualifiers

Feb 20, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

The Israel Men’s National Basketball Team will begin their Eurobasket 2025 qualification campaign when they visit Portugal on Thursday and then travel to Slovenia on Sunday.

The blue-and-white will play in Group A along with Ukraine who they will take on in the next window of games slated for November of 2024 when they will have a two game home and road series. That will be followed by two home games in February 2025 against Portugal and Slovenia once again to wrap up the six game group stage with the top three of four teams advancing to the European Championship which will be held in Cyprus, Finland, Portugal and Latvia.

Head coach Ariel Beit Halachmi has a senior squad available with him with a number of Euroleague players but without Israel’s lone NBA representative in Deni Avdija. Among the veterans that will don the Israeli uniform include captain Tomer Ginat, Roman Sorkin, Rafi Menco, Yam Madar, Yovel Zoosman and Noam Yaacov to name a few.

Ariel Beit Halachmi – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

“It’s very exciting to represent the country,” Beit Halachmi began. “It’s always exciting, but in this window the meaning is much greater with everything that’s happening around us. I’m sure the players also feel it and of course we’ll discuss it. I’m very happy about the responsiveness of the players.”
As for the immediate challenge at hand, Beit Halachmi said, “We’ve done some work so far and we looked back at the previous windows. This will be the first time we will begin a window on the road. Due to the situation with the league because of the war we are only getting the players a few days before the games will start but we made our assessments and we will be ready.”
The last number of games that the Israel National Team played was back in the summer when they attempted to qualify for the Olympic qualification tournament that will take place this summer and that gave Beit Halachmi a chance to see some of the players in action.

“All in all, most of the players were with us in the summer while the new players know me quite well, we will play as we did during the summer. There won’t be too many changes, we will have to be very focused and know exactly what we want to do during our lead up to the games.”

Israel National Team – Photo Credit: FIBA

A couple of players, Idan Zalmanson and Tamir Blatt were dropped from the squad due to injuries and Israel will travel with 13 players with one who will not be dressed for each game. While Netanel Artzi was called up to replace Zalmanson, a decision was made not to bring anyone else in for Blatt.

“I don’t think it’s right to have too many players in the squad because in the end if you travel with more than 12, one won’t get dressed anyways. I trust the players that are here and in the end the players I wanted are here with us,” the bench boss explained.

Beit Halachmi commented on the poor record that Israel has with the upcoming opponents, “I know the statistics against Portugal and they are not a weak team despite their players not playing in the top leagues. We had a chance to see them play with our own eyes this summer and they are a team that traditionally makes it very difficult for us and we cannot take this game lightly. We have to prepare for this game well and they have a high quality squad is high quality, but both of these upcoming games are not easy.”

The captain Tomer Ginat who okays his club ball with Hapoel Tel Aviv is also thrilled to be able to represent the country, “Being with the national team is always exciting and important and I think that right now during this period of time it takes on additional meaning and we are all excited. It’s very clear as to how important this week is that we are heading into. Most of our Euroleague players are with us and I think we have a very strong squad to meet the tasks and to return home with a smile.”

Tomer Ginat – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

While there have been many inconveniences this season due to the war, Ginat knows that right now is the time to push through and give the best as to what everyone has to give, “It’s been a very busy season with a lot of flights due to the situation and we’ve had a lot of time abroad. But the national team is above all, especially in a year like this. It’s a great privilege to be here and represent the country, we’ll rest in the summer.”

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s budding star Roman Sorkin also spoke about the heavy load that everyone has been playing of late, “There have been many games, but we will share the workload on the court. While we played four games last week, this week with the national team there will only be two. We will rest a bit, but we have the coaching staff and they will do a good job as always and will split up the time so that we will recover properly in order to get to the games in perfect shape.”

As for the composition of the team, Sorkin doesn’t feel that there will be an issue getting everyone on the same page, “We were in the European Championships together and most of us have played together for several years now. It’s always fun to see everyone because we are all friends and that will help us on the court.”

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

While the connection between the team on and off of the court is a positive one, Ginat is aware that due to the war and current conflict there may be some challenging situations over the course of the week, “We all understand the situation abroad and in Europe and the anti-Semitism that exists in many places. We are going as a team that is proud to represent this country, with the goal of winning and making everyone proud as well as to give some satisfaction.”

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