Naim handed the coaching reins at rebuilding Betar

By
August 18, 2011 06:04

Local Soccer: Yuval Naim holds his first training session as coach of Betar Jerusalem.

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Yuval Naim

Yuval Naim 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

Yuval Naim held his first training session as coach of Betar Jerusalem on Wednesday evening after signing a one-year deal to guide the club earlier in the day.

After David Amsalem quit on Monday and Eli Ohana refused to step in, Betar chairman Itzik Kornfein turned to the 44-year-old Naim, who has plenty of experience guiding struggling clubs.

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Amsalem left after his requests to strengthen the squad were turned down by Kornfein for financial reasons, but Naim is still hopeful he will be able to add at least a couple of players to the team ahead of what promises to be a very difficult season at Teddy Stadium.

“I don’t know many coaches who would turn down the opportunity to come to Betar Jerusalem,” Naim said on Wednesday. “We have some very talented young players, but we will need to sign two or three new players.

We will do whatever it takes to make Betar a better team.”

Naim began his coaching career at Maccabi Ramat Amidar, before moving to his childhood club Hapoel Ramat Gan in 2005. He guided Ramat Gan to promotion to the Premier League in 2008/09 and helped it avoid relegation the following year.

Naim began last season as coach of Hapoel Petah Tikva, but despite relatively impressive results he left in April after clashing with co-owner Tomer Sinai.

Earlier this summer, Naim was arrested on suspicion of blackmailing Gal Hatzor, another of the Petah Tikva owners.

Both Naim and Hatzor denied the claims and he was quickly released.

“Had you told me a year ago that I would be the coach of Betar Jerusalem I would not have believed you,” said Naim, who will be on the sidelines for Betar’s Premier League opener at Hapoel Beersheba on Saturday.

“But I proved my worth over the last year and I promise to give my all to the club.”

Also Wednesday, Gili Landau agreed to remain coach of Hapoel Petah Tikva, a day after resigning because the bankrupt club demanded he cut his salary by a third.

After a meeting with Petah Tikva CEO Effi Tzafrir, Landau agreed to have his wages reduced by 20 percent, opening the door for his return.

“We are happy to have come to an understanding with Gili Landau,” Tzafrir said. “Landau was loyal to the club and the players throughout the recent difficult months and we are hoping for a good season together.”

Petah Tikva, which begins the season with a nine-point deduction after going into liquidation last month, opens its campaign against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Sunday.


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