Hapoel Jerusalem tips off Eurocup qualies

“In order to get there we will have to overcome a strong Liege team. Hapoel has an illustrious European tradition and we want to add to it this season.”

311_Will Solomon (photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)
311_Will Solomon
(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 Solomon 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 for Maccabi Haifa last season, will all be making their debuts for the side, with Israelis Yuval Naimi, Yogev Ohayon and Uri Kukia the only survivors from last season’s roster.
“Our goal is clear – to reach the group stage of the Eurocup,” said Ohayon, who was part of the team that made the quarterfinals of the competition last season.
“In order to get there we will have to overcome a strong Liege team. Hapoel has an illustrious European tradition and 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.