Pek­er­man’s star on the rise but rab­bis be­moan small at­ten­dances

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

THE STAND-OUT Jewish suc­cess story was Colom­bia coach José Pek­er­man steer­ing his flair-filled side to the quar­ter-fi­nals and a best-ever fin­ish.

Ar­gen­tinian Pek­er­man, who man­aged his own na­tional side in the 2006 tour­na­ment, has seen his star rise.

The grand­son of Ukrainian Jews, Pek­er­man is now back home in Buenos Aires’ Jewish neigh­bour­hood of Villa Cre­spo plot­ting his next move.

Af­ter de­feat to Brazil last weekend, Colom­bia’s pres­i­dent ap­peared on tele­vi­sion in the Colom­bian jersey and begged Pek­er­man to stay as coach.

He should con­tinue his work with “suc­cess, su­pe­ri­or­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism”, said Juan Manuel San­tos.

Colom­bian fans are des­per­ate to re­tain Pek­er­man’s ser­vices, but will a big club job now be on of­fer?

Else­where it was a rel­a­tively un­event­ful tour­na­ment for play­ers based in Is­rael. Ash­dod FC’s Ju­won Oshi­nawa played in all four of Nigeria’s matches be­fore the coun­try crashed out in the sec­ond round against France.

Hapoel Be’er Sheva goal­keeper Austin Ejide failed to make an ap­pear­ance in the same four games.

Italy’s Mario Balotelli — whose adop­tive par­ents are Jewish — scored against Eng­land, but could not pre­vent his coun­try be­ing elim­i­nated in the group stage.

Kyle Beckerman’s dis­tinc­tive dread­locks made him stand out out in the United States’ three im­pres­sive group matches, but claims that he is Jewish seem to be du­bi­ous. He at­tended a Cath- olic high school and mar­ried ear­lier this year in a Greek Ortho­dox cer­e­mony.

The tim­ing of Brazil’s quar­ter-fi­nal with Colom­bia last Fri­day posed a prob­lem for the coun­try’s Jewish foot­ball fans, if not for the afore­men­tioned coach Pek­er­man.

The 5pm kick-off time co­in­cided al­most ex­actly with the start of Shabbat. The clash of tim­ing ca­sued Sao Paulo rabbi Pes­sach Kauff­man to be­moan Fifa’s sched­ul­ing.

A fort­night ear­lier his Shabbat lunch had drawn only 10 par­tic­i­pants rather than the typ­i­cal crowd of 50 — the host na­tion had been play­ing Chile at the time.

Rabbi Kauff­man and friends had to make do with so-called “Shab­bos foot­ball goyim” — their se­cu­rity guards, wait­ers and chefs — pro­vid­ing score up­dates.

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