(photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)
New Hapoel Jerusalem coach Oded Katash is expecting a tough encounter when he
guides the team for the first time in official competition on Tuesday night in
the qualifying round of the Eurocup.
Hapoel visits Belgacom Liege in the
first leg of the qualifiers, hoping to claim a road victory and take a
significant step towards the regular season of the competition ahead of next
week’s return leg at Malha Arena.
“We are facing a difficult challenge
against a strong team,” said Katash, who guided Hapoel Gilboa/Galil to the BSL
title last season.
“One of the goals we’ve set ourselves for this season
is to do well in European competition and we will be taking our first step in
Liege. We will have to be composed, make as few mistakes as possible and play
strong defense. Our goal is to begin our continental campaign on the right foot
and complete the job at Malha.”
Tuesday’s game will be the first real
opportunity to judge the new roster assembled by Katash.
will be making his much-anticipated return to the team, six years after leading
Jerusalem to the ULEB Cup in the 2003/04 season.
Brian Randle and Dion
Dowell, who both joined Katash from Gilboa, and Jason Rich, who played
Maccabi Haifa last season, will all be making their debuts for the side,
Israelis Yuval Naimi, Yogev Ohayon and Uri Kukia the only survivors from
“Our goal is clear – to reach the group stage of the
Eurocup,” said Ohayon, who was part of the team that made the
the competition last season.
“In order to get there we will have to
overcome a strong Liege team. Hapoel has an illustrious European
we want to add to it this season.”
Also Tuesday, Maccabi Haifa visits
Paris Levallois in France for a place in Group B of the EuroChallenge
competition, European basketball’s third cup competition.
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