Last chance saloon for 2010 dream
he said. “But first and foremost we must concentrate on our own games and not worry what is happening elsewhere. We should beat Moldova but then we should have beaten Latvia and look what happened. So we’ve got to concentrate 100 per cent on Moldova.”
In the build-up to the game most of the media interest focused on offthe-pitch matters. The biggest story was Ben Sahar, who threatened not to return to Israel after the IDF instructed him to report for three weeks basic training on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old Espanyol striker only agreed to come home after the army gave the IFA assurances that he would not be arrested for ignoring the order. Sahar has now reportedly agreed to perform his military duty at the end of May — an agreement based on the assumption that Israel do not reach the World Cup finals.
Israel’s starting XI against Moldova and Switzerland will include the team’s three Premier League stars — captain Yossi Benayoun, Ben Haim and Cohen, whose excellent form with Bolton continued last Saturday in the 2-2 draw against Spurs when he set up both goals.
Lokeren striker Omer Golan and Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Gal Alberman have been dropped from the squad, while Borussia’s Roberto Colautti and Hapoel Tel Aviv striker Itay Shechter have been recalled.
Another talking point was Kashtan’s decision to leave Maccabi Haifa’s captain Yaniv Katan out of the 22-man squad. Katan is considered the best player in the Israeli League at the moment, but it is no secret that Kashtan and Katan do not get along. The reason for his non-selection remains unclear.
The issue is unlikely to have any sig- nificance as these will be Kashtan’s last two games in charge, unlessIsrael’s slim chances of qualifying are realised.
IFA chairman Avi Luzon has already announced that Kashtan will leave his post after the qualifying campaign is concluded.
On call: Ben Sahar has agreed to do national service in May