Sven-Goran Eriksson is England's National Team Coach of soccer.
He's chosen to coach another team that he wants to be winners -- Palestinian and Jewish youth.
"The Peace Team," they call themselves.
The team was brought together by the Peres Centre for Peace, on the Web at:
Eriksson's involvement was encouraged by Truce International, a London charity to promote peace through football.
Eight are Jewish Israelis from the Negev, eight are Palestinians from Jericho and Issawiya, east of Jerusalem.
Despite the ups and downs of the political situation, the project has not cancelled any activities.
"If someone scores, they give each other high fives and if someone gets injured they all gather round in concern. This is fantastic to see."
Life for all Jews and Palestinians could be -- and will be -- this way.
Let us -- Jews and Palestinians -- model our shared lives like this, wherever we live.
Published in The Jewish Chronicle -- London, England --
Friday, 16 July 2004
The worlds oldest and most influential Jewish newspaper, on the Web at:
Eriksson coaches joint Jewish-Arab team
Sven-Goran Eriksson this week accepted a new job -- coaching a Jewish-Palestinian football team competing in the Gothia Youth Cup in Sweden.
The England manager devoted part of his vacation to working with the squad of 10-and-11-year-olds from the Peres Centre for Peace. Eight are Jews from Negev development towns, eight are Palestinians from Jericho and Issawiya, east of Jerusalem. The boys, known as the Peace Team, were thrilled to hear on Sunday that the Swede would be involved in their training.
Eriksson's tutelage had immediate effect as the boys overcame a Russian side 4-2 in their opening fixture. However, he played down his role, suggesting: I just wished them good luck. The team already has two coaches and I do not want to take the job away from a colleague. The boys'final record was two victories and two defeats.
His involvement with the Peace Team is linked to London charity Truce International, led by his partner, Nancy Dell'Olio. Truce promotes peace through football and Dell'Olio has visited the West Bank in its cause.
She told JC Sport that the organisation had been instrumental in getting the Peace Team invited, Eriksson helping matters along through his friendship with Gothia Cup chief Dennis Andersson.
Nonetheless, the coach stressed: I am just a football fan. I never make statements about politics. To me this is not politics, this is common sense. It must be better that the children are playing football than throwing bombs at each other.
The Peace Team was "a good example of people trying [to co-exist harmoniously]."
Manager Shahar Eidelman said the kids were overwhelmed by Mr Eriksson's presence during the first game. During the match, one of the players ran to the sidelines to have his picture taken with him.
They said they got their energy from Mr Eriksson, which could have been one of the reasons they won 4-2.
He gave them a pep talk before the match and congratulated them after it had finished. He is a wonderful man and took a genuine interest in the programme.
Eidelman also applauded the excellent spirit between the young Jews and Palestinians. If someone scores, they give each other high fives and if someone gets injured they all gather round in concern. This is fantastic to see.