In first: Israeli beach soccer team wins European championship

Kafr Qasim's Falfala beach soccer club takes the trophy in their finals match in Portugal and say historic victory is 'a dream come true'; Team captain - 'Very proud to represent Israel and the Arab community. We made history'

Liran Biton|
Kafr Qasim's Falfala beach soccer club made history on Sunday by becoming the first Israeli team to win the Euro Winners Cup, making them the European champions in the 30-year-old sport.
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After a tense penalty shootout in the final against Italy's Pisa (5-3), the team lifted the trophy and ended its European journey in Portugal. "This is an unforgettable moment for us, a dream come true," said team captain Amar Yatim. "We're very proud to represent Israel and the Arab community. We made history."
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בני פלפלה והגביע
בני פלפלה והגביע
Kafr Qasim's Falfala BS club hoisting the trophy in Portugal
(Photo: Aiham Anwar)
President Isaac Herzog congratulated the team, and emphasized the historic occasion.
"Congratulations to Bnei Falfala Kafr Qasim BS club on their impressive victory in the Euro Winners Cup final," the president said. "This marks a special achievement in the unique sport. Kafr Qasim is on the map."
Israel Football Association Chairman Moshe Zuares added, "This team consists of talented players and dedicated managers who brought Israel immense passed every obstacle in their way."
Kafr Qasim's Falfala BS club was established in 2007, the same season the Euro Winners Cup was formed. They are also the team who won the most championships – 6 – and dominated the league. The team first won the championship in 2012, participated in three Euro Winners Cup championships, and reached the octofinals (or the match prior to quarterfinals) three times.
The team's manager is Nimer Amer, who has turned it into a European powerhouse. The Israeli squad has been bolstered with high-level foreign players such as the Brazilian Dmais and three Swiss players: goalkeeper Eliott Mounoud, striker Glenn Hodel, and Noel Ott. Switzerland finished third in the last Euro Cup, and all three belong to their squad.
In the previous season, the team managed to grab third place in Europe. In Kafr Qasim, many say that despite their great success, no governmental body provided funding or assistance to the team.
"No words can describe the feeling of winning the Euro Winners Cup," Hamada Jabareen, who plays on the team, said following the historic victory. "It wasn't easy; but those who believe make it. In the finals, we said there was no turning back, we played against a strong team."
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השחקנים חוגגים
השחקנים חוגגים
Finals match in the Euro Winners Cup
(Photo: Aiham Anwar)
Amer added: "The first call I made was to my mom and dad, and I shouted: 'Mom, I brought the trophy,' and 'We're champions.' There is nothing more important than their blessings, I can't describe what they mean to me."
Beach soccer has become very popular in Israel during the last decade, but in 2020, with the outbreak of COVID-19, the league was suspended and hasn't resumed since. The club continues its activities and training, and participates in tournaments abroad.
"This is the result of hard work that took many years, and it paid off for us," Amer said. "Every year we prepare, try to do our best, and we were successful this time."
Many ask if the club will continue to play in the next season. "We're working for it to happen," Amer said.
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