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Israel friendly on... Rosh Hashana

ISRAEL will play an international friendly against Northern Ireland in September — on the second day of Rosh Hashana.

The match, which during Israel’s UEFA Nations League campaign, will take place in Belfast on Tuesday, September 11.

Traditionally, Israeli citizens only celebrate the first day of Rosh Hashana.

The two countries last met in a World Cup qualifier in 2013, which ended in a 1-1 draw in Tel Aviv.

They also played out a 1-1 stalemate in a friendly in 2009.

Meanwhile, Israel’s UEFA Nations League match against Albania on October 14 will be held at the Turner Stadium, the first time an official competitive match by the senior side will be played in Beersheba.

Israel were drawn last month with Scotland and Albania in Group Four of League C of the new competition for national teams.

Managerless Israel will begin their campaign in Albania on September 7.

The national side’s first home match against Scotland on October 11 will be played at Haifa Stadium.

The four-tier tournament has been introduced by UEFA to replace international friendlies.

And, although the new competition is played in addition to the European Championship qualifying competition, which starts in March 2019, it will provide a back door to Euro 2020, with one team from each league earning a place at the tournament.

Alon Hazan, the coach of Israel’s under-19 side, will guide the team in their friendly against Romania on March 24.


HAPOEL Ashkelon’s Messay Dego is the youngest coach in the Israel Premier League, writes ALLON SINAI.

But he also holds another distinction, one that in a perfect world would go unnoticed.

It would be naive to ignore the fact that Dego became the first Ethiopian-Israeli coach to guide a team in the top flight on Sunday.

Dego is a pioneer, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was pulling 10-hour shifts as a cleaning inspector for the Bat Yam Municipality to allow him to work as a coach at Hapoel Tel Aviv’s youth department.

Dego, who was born in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa and moved to Israel with his family in 1990, cleaned for two years after his playing career ended at 27 due to injuries.

During his long hours in the deserted streets of Bat Yam, Dego would watch training sessions by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on his phone.

Dego’s brother, Baruch, who played for Maccabi Tel Aviv, is widely regarded as the best Ethiopian-Israeli player ever.


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