Beitar Jerusalem midfielder Idan Vered (left) scored his team’s opener in last night’s 3-0 win over Hapoel Ashkelon,.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Four Premier League head coaches have already lost their jobs this season and Ran Ben-Shimon could become the fifth should Beitar Jerusalem’s results not improve soon.
Beitar has won just two of eight league matches so far this season, losing just once but registering five draws.
Four of those draws finished at 2-2, including against the lowly Bnei Yehuda on Monday night.
Despite picking up only 11 of a possible 24 points, Beitar sits in fifth place in the standings. The respectable position in the table however, hasn’t made the team’s campaign any less frustrating.
Jerusalem has squandered leads time and again, failing to keep a clean sheet - holding its opponents scoreless in just two matches to date - and executing poorly in front of goal.
“We are still searching for the right balance,” said Ben-Shimon. “I have been pleased with that I’ve seen offensively, but we are exposed on defense.”
Ben-Shimon has heard calls for his resignation from the stands during and after the team’s last two matches, draws against Ashdod SC and Bnei Yehuda, but he is confident he can guide Beitar back on track, starting with Saturday’s game against Hapoel Ra’anana at Teddy Stadium.
“The fans were amazing in the match against Bnei Yehuda,” he noted. “They called for my sacking, but that is okay. They have supported the players and they are entitled to their opinion. I can understand their anger considering our results, but the season is long and I have no doubt that we will find our way.”
It has been 20 years since the last time four coaches were sacked or had resigned eight matches or less into a season. Roni Levy (Maccabi Haifa), Eli Gutman (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Arik Benado (Bnei Yehuda) and Moti Ivanir (Ironi Kiryat Shmona) make up this season’s list which is sure to grow.
Hapoel Haifa coach Eli Cohen is the favorite to be the next coach fired, with his team facing the in-form Maccabi Haifa in the derby on Saturday.
Hapoel Haifa has lost three straight matches since beating Beitar Jerusalem 4-0, while Maccabi Haifa thrashed Hapoel Ashkelon 5-0 last weekend after a 2-0 victory at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Also Saturday, Ashdod hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv. Ashdod appointed Yossi Mizrahi as its sports director earlier this week, with the veteran coach to help fill the void that will be left when club owner Jacky Ben-Zaken enters prison next month to serve a 26-month sentence, being convicted of manipulating shares.
Elsewhere, Benny Ben-Zaken guides Kiryat Shmona for the first time since replacing Ivanir when it visits Bnei Yehuda, which is still being led by interim coach Yakov Asayag.
On Sunday, league-leader Hapoel Beersheba visits Ashkelon, while Maccabi Tel Aviv looks to bounce back from two consecutive losses when it hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva.
On Monday, Hapoel Kfar Saba hosts Bnei Sakhnin.