Kicking goals for Jewish junior football

U15s action between NCMJFC (white) and MHJFC at the inaugural interstate Challenge Cup in Sydney on June 11. Photo: Noel Kessel

AN interstate Maccabi football carnival in Sydney on the June long weekend featuring more than 320 juniors from Victoria and NSW proved to be a magical way to mark the 40th anniversary of Melbourne’s North Caulfield Maccabi Junior Football Club (NCMJFC).

Beginning as an idea by NCMJFC committee member Paul Platus, the 38-match carnival featuring juniors aged between nine and 15, was immediately supported and brought into fruition by the club’s president Kevin Milstein and Maccabi Hakoah Junior Football Club (MHJFC) president Ofer Greenberg.

About 100 NCMJFC players flew to Sydney especially for the tournament.

Despite several rainy spells, two days of fun, friendship and football were enjoyed by players, parents, coaches, managers and volunteers from both clubs at Sydney’s Waverley Park, Heffron Park and Hensley Field, plus exhibition games featuring invitational Hakoah and Maccabi Northside sides.

For the record, the winner of the inaugural Vic v NSW Challenge Cup was NCMJFC, whose teams won all but one of the matches that counted towards the Boris Serhoshtan-Mick Vasin Trophy, named after NCMJFC and MHJFC stalwarts who have been instrumental to their clubs’ successes for the last two decades.

NCMJFC’s U10s, U11s, U12 Colts, U14 Colts A and U15s remained undefeated, while Maccabi Hakoah U14s A saw out a tough 1-1 draw with NCMJFC U14 Colts B.

A NSW team emerged victorious in an invitational match between a Hakoah U15 boys’ side and NCMJFC U15s.

Milstein said the event was a wonderful way to celebrate NCMJFC’s “40 colourful and incredible years of football in the Melbourne Jewish community” with another great Jewish football club in NSW, “rekindling the old Vic vs NSW rivalries of the past”.

“It’s also great to honour Boris and Mick through the trophy – two stalwarts of both clubs,” he said.

Greenberg wished NCMJFC a happy 40th birthday, adding, “We hope to start a great tradition of biennial football carnivals.”

Organisers said the carnival’s success, and positive feedback from all involved, will ensure it continues, with Melbourne due to host the next Challenge Cup in 2019.

SHANE DESIATNIK