The Israel National Team will begin their final stretch of 2024 European Championship qualifiers when they play at Kosovo on Sunday (21:45 Israel time). The Blue & White will also play a pair of “home” games in Hungary against Switzerland and Romania followed up by the final match in Andorra.
Just ahead of the opening whistle, head coach Alon Hazan and captain Eli Dasa spoke at the prematch press conference.
“This is not a burden,” Hazan began. “We know what we are representing and we will do whatever we can to win the match and bring some happiness to our people, it’s one of our targets. This should be something inspiring for the players and not a burden.”
Hazan said that the National Team feels comfortable in Kosovo and there are no security concerns, “We feel safe and we appreciate the concern. The people here in Kosovo have been great as well as the hospitality that we have been receiving. We are football players and we care about sport as does everyone around us so that we can concentrate on football.”
Dasa also addressed the same query as well, “We are here so we feel comfortable and we have the conditions to do so. We are here to represent our people and we have a goal to give a little happiness to out people. We always represent the country but especially now.”
The team will certainly be motivated Dasa continued, “We know what we want to achieve. The entire country is behind us and we are all representatives of Israel. We are here to represent our country, the hostages. We know what we have to do here in order to get the people to smile back at home.”
“I expect to see a team that is very confident and the motivation should be there but we can’t just rely on that,” Hazan added. “We have to bring our football quality to win here. Eran Zahavi has done a few things in Israeli football and we are looking at ourselves as a national team and not individuals.”
Hazan also spoke a bit about their rivals on Sunday night, “Kosovo is a very good national team and they have been unlucky in a couple of games. It was clear that Israel and Kosovo would both fight for 2nd place and we will have to work very hard to reach our goals and see what will happen.”
Dasa spoke about how the players on the national team are ambassadors for the State of Israel and that they will stick it our wherever they may be despite difficulties, “Israeli footballers are all ambassadors wherever they play. We have to bring our message to all of those places. If we go and run away that won’t work, we can’t just run away and go home. I will do what I can and all of the others players can do what they can as well. They are proud.”