Israel has never been a soccer powerhouse, but in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers help might come from two unexpected sources -- the settlers and the police.
Meet Roni (not his real name), a settler from Kyriat Arba. Roni believes Israel scores too few goals from free kicks, and plans to join the national squad as a free-kick specialist. So being so busy with the settlement of the God-given West Bank, when and how does he train?
The following video clarifies it. Although it was taken from a distance (training sessions are secret), be sure to notice how at 0 min 13 sec Roni takes a free kick and his teammates surround him to celebrate:
For his part, Gadi (not his real name either), a sergeant with the Israeli police, thinks more goals should be scored from headers -- and trains to help the national team in that field. In the following video, notice how Gadi trains to score with the head at 0 min 19 sec and, again, at 0 min 41 sec:
Asked why they used the heads of Palestinians for their training, instead of, well, soccer balls, both would-be stars had different answers. Said Gadi: "You can't take a soccer ball with you everywhere. On the other hand, there's always a Palestinian head available for you to head-butt, so that I can train when and where I wish." When a reporter noted that he wore a rigid plastic helmet which wouldn't be allowed at the World Cup, he countered "Yes, but soccer balls are by no means that hard!"
Roni, for his part, says it all boils down to motivation. "One of the basic shortcomings of training sessions," he observes, "is that the adrenaline is missing. You play your own teammates and you don't see them as rivals. On the other hand, training on the head of a Palestinian you feel exactly the same lust to demolish your rival as when you play a championship game. When you kick a Palestinian," he summarizes, "you get a kick out of the kick."
El País (Der Stürmer)
8 years ago