Soccer / Ghetton League / Internationals Gather in Tel Aviv for Season Opener

Favorites for 2013 include AS Roma, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Yasha Maknouz
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Yasha Maknouz

The 2012-13 Ghetton's League season kicks off tomorrow, after several teams made late-summer adjustments to bolster their chances of capturing the championship. Kickoff will be at Goaltime Tel Aviv.

Fifteen teams will compete in three divisions to qualify for the Champions League. The champion will then try to win the European SuperCup against the winners of the Italian Ghetton league in Israel next June.

AS Roma waited until the 11th hour to make the biggest splash of the off-season by acquiring forward Yossi Kedem. The striker was the breakout performer of last Mundial, firing eight goals in six matches for the finalists. He will form an attacking partnership with Daniel Kahtan that will be one of the most fearsome in the league. Prior to making that move, Roma's captain Daniele Moscati also addressed its attack by adding Nigerian goalkeeper Peter Emola, who lifted the last trophy as the winning goalkeeper with Nigeria.

Arsenal signed a huge contract with 29-year-old midfielder Elad Levin. The Gunners' captain Joe Galante has also recruited Colombian star Dani Khordian to make up for the loss of injured Italian striker Yuri Arazi. This team looks very solid, with Disegni, Galante and Mog Mordakhai completing the roster.

Chelsea has decided not to mess with a winning formula, keeping its 2011-12 squad largely intact. They will depend on the continued growth and success of Roro Ovalle and hope that Jony Salaberry's Mundial 2012 success can translate to the league. They'll also hope that Gasti Nudman makes his headlines on the pitch this season instead of off the pitch.

The biggest story for Sporting Lisboa this off-season was the departure of Daniel Gai, who will move to Italy after helping the team form its foundation. The striker leaves a huge scoring gap on the team, but captain Jonny Djerby was very active and surely has put together a very competitive squad.

Tottenham, led by E. Braha, could be the surprise of the league, with an English bone-structure and a strong cohesiveness among its players.

Esporte Clube Bahia is an all-Brazilian team. Amar, Druker, Lima, Stein, Stolnicki, Stein, Szuster, Mizrahi and Carvalho Paz are the South Americans who will give to their captain Roni Maltz Bin the opportunity to compete for the top spot.

Bayern Munich is based on the Germany team that reached the quarterfinals of the Mundial-Tel Aviv last summer. Captain E. Heymann can still count on stars Romianek, Cohen and Moyal.

Michael Hess looks very confident to bring Dutch team Ajax back to its glory days, though it looks to be a difficult task.

Benkalifat, Bendanoune, Wiegler, Dahan, Lallouche and Rose are the French stars of Manchester United, ready to fight for a spot under their captain, Jonathan Guirchonn.

Manchester City signed Daniel Markovits, one of the most talented players this season. Theo Bokhobza has done a wonderful job in the preseason, acquiring Dell'Ariccia, Debach and Hayon.

FC Hakoah is led by Michael Katina, who is putting some Swedish forces into this global team. Revamping the team remains an uphill battle, though.

Boca Juniors has a highly talented goalkeeper, Daniele Del Monte. Bendaud, the Journo brothers, and Maisto will try to bring Boca to the top. Captain Raphael Uzzan is counting on their skills.

AC Milan's captain Namdar had a very busy preseason. The team looks ready, with Sessa, Halwani, Haddad, Piazza and Tesciuba helping their star, Mieres, reach a spot in the top 8.

MatchDay 1 includes: Bayern-Sporting; Ajax-Tottenham; Boca Juniors-Man United; Arsenal-FC Hakoah; Roma-Esporte Clube Bahia; and AC Milan-Man City.

The league announced yesterday that registration remains open for another team, which can be done through the website

Chelsea’s players this summer. The team figures to compete for the league title this season.Credit: Tana Abeni