Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Yogev Ohayon.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
The fitness of guard Yogev Ohayon continues to worry Israel national team coach Erez Edelstein after he was forced to miss training once more on Monday.
Ohayon only joined the roster last week due to his ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease, but had to sit out practice yet again in the past couple of days with flu-like symptoms.
The 28-year-old Maccabi Tel Aviv player missed last summer’s EuroBasket qualifying campaign to help alleviate the symptoms of the inflammatory bowel disease which can’t be cured by medication or surgical procedures. He was able to play for Maccabi for most of last season, but despite being ruled fit to suit up for the blue-and- white in next month’s European Championships, he didn’t travel with the team to its first warm-up tournament in Macedonia last week, only finally joining up with his teammates upon their return.
While he should fully recover from the flu symptoms in the coming days, it remains to be seen if he will be limited by the symptoms of Crohn’s disease at the championships next month.
Ohayon, who has been dealing with Crohn’s for the past three years, spent several days in hospital last month, but is determined to be part of the national team in EuroBasket 2015.
Coach Edelstein, who is already without the injured Yotam Halperin and Guy Pnini, could sure use a healthy Ohayon, with Israel losing all three of its games in Macedonia.
Israel dropped to two defeats in five days to the hosts, while also falling to Ukraine.
“We are a new team which is searching for its identity, both defensively and offensively,” said Edelstein, who was also without Lior Eliyahu in Macedonia.
Israel’s next warm-up games are against World Cup finalist Serbia at Yad Eliyahu Arena in Tel Aviv on Saturday and Sunday. The national team will then travel to Zagreb, Croatia, where it will face the locals, as well as Estonia and Bosnia.
Israel will play in Group A in next month’s European Championships, being drawn with host and defending champion France, as well as Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland and Finland.
The blue-and-white is aiming to advance past the first round for the first time since 2007 after winning just three games in total over the past three tournaments.
The top four teams in the group will progress to the knockout rounds