Banin excited for chance to restore Hap Haifa to glory

Haifa won just one of its first 13 matches of the season, picking up only seven points to date.

November 28, 2011 23:49
1 minute read.
MACCABI TEL AVIV goalkeeper Guy Haimov

MACCABI TEL AVIV goalkeeper Guy Haimov 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Tal Banin held his first training session as Hapoel Haifa coach on Monday morning after replacing Nitzan Shirazi, who resigned on Saturday following the team’s abysmal start to the Premier League season.

Haifa won just one of its first 13 matches of the season, picking up only seven points to date.

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Shirazi had been under pressure since the very beginning of the season, with Haifa losing its first five matches of the campaign.

However, despite the support of owner Yoav Katz, Shirazi decided to leave following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Hapoel Ramat Hasharon which left the team in 14th place, which leads to relegation to the National League at the end of the season.

Banin will be guiding a club side for the first time at Haifa after beginning his coaching career as an assistant coach at Maccabi Petah Tikva before going on to guide the Israel Under-17 team and working as an assistant to national team coach Luis Fernandez in the last 16 months.

“I’m closing a circle by coming back to Hapoel Haifa and I’m very motivated and hungry to succeed,” said Banin, who began his illustrious playing career at the club in 1987 before going on to record 78 appearances for the blue-and-white.

“We need to lift the players because this club deserves to play in the Premier League. I believe we can stay in the league.

“We are facing Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa and Kiryat Shmona in our next three matches, which are all as difficult as they are important to our future.”

In Premier League action on Monday, Maccabi Petah Tikva won for the first time in eight matches, defeating Bnei Yehuda 1-0 in National Stadium in Ramat Gan.

Omer Golan scored the only goal of the match in the 56th minute, making the most of an uncharacteristic blunder by the usually reliable Bnei Yehuda ‘keeper Dele Aiyenugba.

The win moves Petah Tikva tied on 16 points with 10th placed Bnei Yehuda, which is winless in its last six matches.

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