(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
In Israel for the day, former England national soccer team manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was on hand for an Israeli-Palestinian youth soccer initiative in Kiryat Gat on Sunday.
Around 120 Israeli and Palestinian children, between the ages of six and 13, took part in the day-long program organized by The Peres Center for Peace.
Eriksson had visited Israel previously to supervise the opening of two parallel schools funded by Truce International, for Israeli and Palestinian children, to nurture the love and skill for soccer while simultaneously fostering the hope and ideas for peace.
The veteran Swedish coach, who also led Italian outfit Lazio to a historic championship in the 2000 season, briefly commented on the Israeli national team's chances in the Euro 2008 qualification campaign.
"Israeli soccer has improved a lot over the years and I am very impressed, especially by Yossi Benayoun, who is probably [English Premier League club] West Ham's most important player," Eriksson said. "I can't comment much about the current England team. But they are still the favorites to win the group."
Rumors linking Eriksson with an advisory post with Maccabi Haifa were fiercely denied by the Swede soccer icon, who expressed his willingness to return to an active coaching post as soon as possible.