IT is a rarity for a Jewish sportsman to pull on the green-and-gold and represent their country, whether on the field, the track, or in the pool.
But last weekend saw not one, but two young Jewish Sydneysiders suit up for the Futsalroos, Australia’s national futsal team, against the Futsal Whites of New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Cup.
Futsalroos’ Jarrod Basger and Jordan Mundell are not only teammates, but best friends, having grown up together playing football in Sydney’s inner suburbs.
They travelled to New Zealand to take on the local team in a three match series over three days, competing for Oceanic supremacy and cross-Tasman bragging rights.
Not only did the Futsalroos sweep the series 5-3, 6-0, 7-1, but Mundell – in his national team debut – received the Cup’s most valuable player award, while Basger scored in all three games to spearhead the green-and-gold romp.
Representing Australia was an incredible experience, Basger told The AJN , made all the more special by having Mundell line up alongside him.
“I’ve grown up playing with Jordan,” Basger said.
“We’ve been to Vienna and Israel together for Maccabiahs. We both play for Hakoah (Sydney City East FC).
“So putting on that national team jersey, standing side-by-side for the Australian anthem before games, it was pretty special. To have one of your best mates on tour with you is a lot of fun. Jordan set up my goal during the first game so we got to celebrate that. It was great, setting each other up for goals, working in the forward line together. Along with another Aussie, we shared the top scorers for the tournament.”
Trans-Tasman MVP Mundell echoed these sentiments, telling The AJN that he views the more experienced Basger as his role model.
“I get a lot of confidence playing with Jarrod,” Mundell said.
“[Basger’s] development over the last few years inspires and shows me what I can achieve myself. I just try and learn from him and get confidence to play even better.”
Mundell says the highlight of his tournament was scoring a hat-trick in the second game of the series in front of his father Robert, but says there were many high-points to choose from.
“It was all amazing – the opportunity to represent my country, and to get MVP in my first tournament – I just couldn’t think of anything better,” he said.
Basger and Mundell have contributed to Australia’s dominance over their NZ counterparts at the tournament, with the Futsal Whites yet to win a Trans-Tasman Cup game.
“Each year they say ‘we’ll get you next year’ but it hasn’t happened yet,” Basger laughed.
And with the two best mates vowing to continue wreaking havoc in the Futsalroos’ forward line, the streak may go unchallenged for some time.