Fernandez picks squad

Several surprise inclusions in national team 25-man roster.

Israel coach Luis Fernandez remained true to his word on Tuesday afternoon when he announced his 25-man roster for next week’s three-day training camp.
Fernandez declared when he took the job that every Israeli player would have an equal opportunity to reach the national team and on Tuesday he once more made several surprise inclusions in his squad.
Hapoel Ashkelon’s Amaya Taga and Adir Tubul as well as Hapoel Haifa’s Oded Elkayam were the biggest shocks, with Hapoel Tel Aviv midfielder Eran Zehavi, Nuremburg’s Almog Cohen and Maccabi Petah Tikva striker Omer Damarai also each getting long-overdue call-ups to the national team.
Several notable names were missing from Fernandez’s list, with Biram Kiyal, Shlomi Arbeitman and Omer Golan all being left out of the squad.
“I selected the squad after watching plenty of training sessions and matches over the last month,” said Fernandez.
“Our main goal is to be ready for our first Euro 2012 qualifier against Malta.”
Israel was scheduled to face the Ivory Coast in a friendly match this month, but after the Africans cancelled, Fernandez decided instead to call a three-day training camp.
The blue-and-white hosts Malta on September 2 in its qualifying opener before visiting Georgia four days later.
“After the match against the Ivory Coast was cancelled we looked for another opponent, who plays in a similar style to Malta, to come to Ramat Gan,” Fernandez said.
“Only African teams agreed to come so I decided to give it a miss and hold valuable training sessions instead.”
Israel’s 25-man roster for training camp Goalkeepers: Dudu Aouate (RCD Mallorca); Ariel Harush (Betar Jerusalem); Ohad Levita (RKC Waalwijk).
Defenders: Dekel Keinan (Blackpool); Tal Ben-Haim (West Ham); Yoav Ziv, Avi Strul (Maccabi Tel Aviv); Oded Elkayam (Hapoel Haifa); Adir Tubul (Hapoel Ashkelon); Danny Bondarv (Hapoel Tel Aviv).
Midfielders: Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea); Avihai Yadin, Gili Vermut, Eran Zehavi (Hapoel Tel Aviv); Lior Rafaelov, Eyal Golasa (Maccabi Haifa); Amaya Taga (Hapoel Ashkelon); Almog Cohen (Nuremburg); Tamir Cohen (Bolton).
Forwards: Elyaniv Barda (Genk); Roberto Colautti, Barak Itzhaki (Maccabi Tel Aviv); Itai Shechter, Ben Sahar (Hapoel Tel Aviv); Omer Damari (Maccabi Petah Tikva).