Israeli soccer captain displays shoe of kidnapped child ahead of qualifying match

‘That’s all what’s left from his house. This left shoe. We wait for him here,’ Eli Dasa says of 8-year-old Nave Shoham, who along with 7 relatives was kidnapped in Hamas onslaught

Israel team captain Eli Dasa shows a shoe of a kidnapped Israeli boy during a press conference, before a training session for the Euro 2024 group I qualifying soccer match between Israel and Switzerland at the Pancho Arena in Felcsút, Hungary, November 14, 2023. The shoe belongs to 8-year-old Nave Shoham, who along with seven relatives was taken captive in the Hamas terror group's October 7 onslaught.(AP Photo/Denes Erdos)
Israel team captain Eli Dasa shows a shoe of a kidnapped Israeli boy during a press conference, before a training session for the Euro 2024 group I qualifying soccer match between Israel and Switzerland at the Pancho Arena in Felcsút, Hungary, November 14, 2023. The shoe belongs to 8-year-old Nave Shoham, who along with seven relatives was taken captive in the Hamas terror group's October 7 onslaught.(AP Photo/Denes Erdos)

FELCSUT, Hungary — The captain of Israel’s soccer team on Tuesday displayed the shoe of a young boy he said was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists during their deadly October 7 cross-border attack, an act of solidarity with Israelis held captive in Gaza ahead of the team’s game in Hungary.

Team captain Eli Dasa was addressing a news conference in Felcsut, the small Hungarian village where Israel’s team is set to face Switzerland on Wednesday in a Euro 2024 qualifying match, when he raised the small athletic shoe and displayed it to reporters.

“It is hard to speak at the moment, but I don’t think that any of you can guess what is the story behind this shoe,” Dasa said. “This kid is in Gaza Strip at the moment with seven, seven people from his family.”

“That’s all what’s left from his house. This left shoe. We wait for him here,” he continued, before standing up and leaving the news conference.

The shoe was taken from Kibbutz Be’eri, the small community in Israel from which 8-year-old Nave Shoham was kidnapped along with seven of his relatives on October 7, according to the Israeli team’s press officer, Eitan Dotan. Three members of the boy’s family were killed during the raids, Dotan said.

The news conference took place as Israel’s team held training sessions on Tuesday in Pancho Arena, the 3,500-seat stadium where they will face Switzerland on Wednesday and Romania on Saturday.

In the stadium, a banner lining the field read in both Hebrew and English: “Bring them home!”

An AI generated photo of Naveh Shoham, commissioned by his grandfather Gilad Korngold, as he presses for the release of his grandson and six other family members (Courtesy)

The team is chasing a qualifying place in the Euro 2024 continental championship, which would be its first since joining the European soccer confederation UEFA in 1994.

The match against Switzerland had been set for Octovwe 12 in Tel Aviv, but UEFA suspended all games in Israel due to security concerns. The match against Romania had been set for Tel Aviv on November 18.

On Tuesday, the Israeli team’s head coach, Alon Hazan, said he expects a tough and emotional game against Switzerland, saying that “we represent our country, not only the national team.”

Hazan commented on statements from Hungarian Jewish organizations that they would attend the matches in Felcsut, saying, “In this part of our life, wherever we play, even if one Jew sits on the stand to support us, we feel at home.”

Israel’s chances of reaching the European Championship finals suffered a blow on Sunday after their 1-0 loss to Kosovo in their delayed qualifying game.

Israel are third in Group I of Euro 2024 qualifying, five points behind group leaders Romania – who have played one more game – and four points behind second-placed Switzerland.

The top two teams of the group qualify directly for the 2024 European Championship in Germany.

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