(photo credit: )
The speculation over who will take over as head coach of Hapoel Tel Aviv ended on Tuesday after it was announced that Yitzhak Schum had agreed to sign a one year deal with the club.
Schum will return to coach in Israel after being away for three years and replace Dror Kashtan, who will leave the reds at the end of the season to coach the Israel national team.
Earlier this year it had been assumed that outgoing Israeli national team coach Avraham Grant would be given the Hapoel job. But the collapse of Russian billionaire Lev Leviev's takeover bid left the position open again.
"I'm proud and happy at becoming the Hapoel Tel Aviv coach" said Schum on Tuesday afternoon. "I hope that the fans, management and everybody else who is connected with Hapoel will enjoy the team next year."
Schum left Maccabi Haifa three years ago to coach Greek giants Panathinaikos and led the team to a league and cup double. After being fired by the Greeks Shum spent several months at Bulgarian side Litkex Lovech and in Russia at Alania Vladikavkaz.
He was also the Israel assistant coach for eight years during the 90's and was the first coach to guide an Israeli team to the Champions League leading Maccabi Haifa into Europe's premier competition in 2002.
The signing of Schum is a serious declaration of intent by the club's current management, especially after Leviev's pullout. Schum is one of Israel's top coaches and by guaranteeing his signature Hapoel is showing that it's preparing to compete for silverware next season.
"Every team that I coach is a contender for trophies", said Schum. "I'm pleased with the vote of confidence that I received from Hapoel and now is the time to get to work and prepare for next season."