Lacking a real battle for the championship, the lower tier playoff of the 2011/12 Premier League season is the only matter of interest in Israeli soccer. In order to celebrate another season in the Premier League eight teams will have to find the strength that - despite everything - could provide a happy ending.
Hapoel Be'er Sheva, for example, needs to decide how it will let the security situation in the south affect it. I have no intention of advising Guy Levy, Alona Barkat and the players to man the Iron Dome batteries from time to time, but I do recommend the club, which is only two points clear of the relegation zone, take control as much as possible of this situation, which was forced upon them.
In the previous round of games they blamed the fighting for their 5-1 loss to Bnei Yehuda in Tel Aviv. On Sunday, after another difficult week, the team beat Rishon Letzion at home 2-1.
Be'er Sheva is dealing with a situation that does not allow a regular routine for the soccer team, the city and the fans, but it's likely that precisely here lies the x-factor in its fight against relegation. From this insufferable situation can grow extreme commitment, dedication, determination, unity and sense of municipal responsibility that can give another 10 percent to the team.
As long as this intensity of fighting remains, it seems Be'er Sheva will have much more to lose if it uses the situation as an excuse for its poor showing - but it can profit from it to the degree that it uses the situation to its advantage. True, this perspective is more psychological than about pure soccer, but for the moment it's the only advantage Be'er Sheva has over its opponents at the bottom - at least until there's an attack on Iran.
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