Sahar returns to national squad

19-year-old, who has found his form recently after joining Dutch side De Graafschap, pushes his way back into Kashtan's plans.

ben sahar 88 (photo credit: )
ben sahar 88
(photo credit: )
After a difficult year, Ben Sahar has returned to form and pushed his way back into the plans of Israel national team coach Dror Kashtan. The 19-year-old burst on to the international scene with a brace for Israel against Estonia in a Euro 2008 qualifier in March 2007, while playing for Chelsea. But since then, after making three appearances for the Premier League side, he has been relegated to the Under 21s, been sent out on loan to no less than four clubs, and only found his form recently after joining Dutch side De Graafschap in January. On Thursday, Kashtan included Sahar in the Israel squad for Wednesday's friendly match against Hungary at National Stadium in Ramat Gan. Sahar was brought into the squad, in part, as Genk striker Elyaniv Barda is injured. There were a number of surprise exclusions, including Maccabi Haifa's Yaniv Katan, who has been one of the most impressive players in Israel this season, and Sivasspor's Pini Balili, who has shone at times. Ashdod SC midfielder David Revivo had also been hoping to get the nod from Kashtan, but was left off the list. The game against Hungary will be the last friendly Israel plays before the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Greece, in Ramat Gan on March 28, and then in Greece four days later. Israel is currently second in qualifying Group 2, a point behind the Greeks.