Israel to Face Uphill Battle in Gibraltar's Netball Europe Open Challenge

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Israel's national netball team.
Israel's national netball team.Credit: Israel Netball

Israel’s national netball team is heading to Gibraltar, where it will have to overcome a number of factors to succeed at the Netball Europe Open Challenge tournament, from May 10-13.

The first factor is endurance. Because Israel Netball does not play on Shabbat, the squad will have to play three games within 24 hours, a daunting prospect for any team at any level. The second is experience. “The average age of our players is much lower than in previous years, with seven of the 10 under the age of 24,” Israel Netball’s Judy Aknin told Haaretz.

The third factor is the unknown qualities of Netball Europe’s two newest members, the Isle of Man — formerly part of England Netball — and the United Arab Emirates. Besides the newcomers, Israel will also face host Gibraltar and Ireland.

This will be Israel’s third consecutive year at tournament. “Our co-coaches Shan Berman and Tal Segev and team manager Robyn Ginsberg, all former national team players, are working the squad hard, and they have high hopes of gaining at least one international victory,” said Aknin.