It is a dangerous venture to start believing in the notion of karma as it
pertains to sports.
Still, I for one didn’t have one ounce of sympathy
for Yossi Abuksis when his sacking as Hapoel Tel Aviv coach was announced on
I have no personal issue with Abuksis, but it has been
hard to cheer for him and his Hapoel side in recent months after the way the
organization treated its ailing coach-in-name-only, Nitzan
Hapoel’s new owners never wanted anything to do with
The ownership group led by Haim Ramon inherited Shirazi’s
contract from former boss Eli Tabib after completing the purchase of the club
last summer and reluctantly left him in charge as it didn’t want to pay his
Despite a tumultuous off-season, Hapoel won three of
its first four Premier League matches under Shirazi and advanced to the Europa
League group stage.
However, a tragic development in late September saw
Shirazi leave his post and Abuksis installed in his place.
has also been the Israel national team assistant coach since last year, was
initially named as the coach on an interim basis after Shirazi was urged by the
ownership to take an indefinite break from full-time coaching when his health
situation seriously deteriorated following emergency brain surgery.
face a private war which I intend to win,” Shirazi said at the time. “I’m
entering a period of treatment which demands me to stop my life as a coach. I
hope this only takes a few months and that we’ll win this very very difficult
Ramon stressed that Abuksis’s appointment is a temporary one and
that Shirazi will still be involved at Hapoel on a part-time basis as a sports
director, working in cooperation with the new head coach.
“I believe that
he will be healthy and will return to his regular capacity as coach,” Ramon
Shirazi, who continues to receive a salary from Hapoel, is still
not at full health, but his condition has improved in recent
Nevertheless, even when Abuksis was fired, Hapoel chose to go
with the unproven and largely unknown Freddy David rather than hand back the
team to Shirazi.
It almost goes without saying that once Abuksis began
his work at Hapoel, Shirazi’s involvement diminished by the day, with Abuksis
ruthlessly cleansing the club of his predecessor’s appointments, including
assistant coach Shavit Elimelech.
Hapoel didn’t even bother trying to
pretend that it intended on bringing Shirazi back, with the club announcing less
than two months ago that Abuksis will continue to coach the team in 2013/14,
completely ignoring its promise to the sick Shirazi.
Well, Abuksis will
not be coaching Hapoel next season, or in its next match for that
Ramon felt the need to show his support for Abuksis by promising
him another season at the helm after the team dropped to a 2-1 defeat to Bnei
Yehuda, its fourth straight match without a win.
The Reds won their next
two games, but matters would soon spiral out of control.
Hapoel lost four
straight matches, capped by a humbling 4-0 defeat to Maccabi Tel Aviv, its worse
defeat in the derby in over 20 years.
The team could also only manage a
1-1 draw against Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday after the visitors equalized at
Bloomfield Stadium thanks to a 90th-minute header by Ahmed Abed.
later, Abuksis was sent packing.
He must have known what was coming
because he didn’t even show up to speak to the press, sending his assistant Asi
Dumb to answer the difficult questions in his place.
It was probably just
as well, considering all that was uttered by his big mouth in previous
According to Abuksis, everyone was at fault for Hapoel’s defeats,
other than himself of course.
Abuksis at least apologized to fans after
the disastrous display in the derby, but following the previous week’s 3-0 loss
to Maccabi Netanya he took aim at the team’s fitness coach by claiming that it
is no coincidence that eight players are missing through injury and that he
can’t elaborate on the matter as if it were some state secret.
and suspensions were also to blame for the 3-0 loss at Maccabi Haifa, with the
2-0 defeat to Beitar Jerusalem explained by the revelation that “every team can
beat every team in this league”.
Abuksis essentially ran out of excuses
this past weekend, and his pleas to remain in charge in a meeting with Ramon
after the dismal display on Saturday fell on deaf ears.
Shirazi has kept
quiet through all that has transpired, but it isn’t hard to guess how he must be
I’m not saying that Hapoel and Abuksis have been punished for
their treatment of Shirazi or that the freak injury crisis at the club is an act
However, for some reason, after closely following recent
developments at Hapoel, the cliché that “what goes around comes around” rings
truer than ever in my mind.