Maccabi Haifa’s Caio.
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
For the fourth time in the past six seasons, Maccabi Haifa is desperately trying to pick up the pieces from a disastrous start to a campaign as it prepares to host Bnei Yehuda on Saturday night in its first match since the departure of coach Guy Luzon.
Dutchman Rob Maas, who only began working for the team as an assistant coach this week, will guide the Greens against Bnei Yehuda, with technical director Mo Allach, who has been at the club for just over a month, still searching for a full-time replacement.
Luzon offered his resignation following the disappointing 1-1 home draw with Hapoel Ashkelon last Saturday that left the team with just four wins from 13 matches this season. Haifa sits in eighth place in the standings, 14 points behind leader Hapoel Beersheba.
The Greens have won just one of their past seven games, ending the first round of action with only 16 points, their worst return at this stage of the season since the 1987/88 campaign.
Luzon was at the club for a mere 10 months, joining Haifa in February following the sacking of Rene Meulensteen. Seven different coaches have guided the Greens since the start of the 2012/13 season, with Reuven Atar, Aleksandar Stanojevic, Meulensteen and Luzon all lasting less than 10 months.
“Maccabi Haifa is a big club which needs a vision,” said Allach in his first press conference at the club on Wednesday. “My first goal is to bring hope back to this club.”
Bnei Yehuda entered the season with far lower expectations than Haifa, but it arrives at Saturday’s showdown four points above the Greens after winning four of its past five matches, including over top-five clubs Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Netanya.
Hapoel Haifa can return to first place for at least 24 hours on Saturday with a win at Hapoel Ashkelon. Haifa lost its place at the summit after only managing a 1-1 draw at Ashdod SC last week.
Haifa, which has won only one of its past four matches, is two points back of Beersheba. The two-time reigning champ has won seven of its last eight games and visits Maccabi Netanya on Sunday.
Also Saturday, Maccabi Petah Tikva welcomes Ashdod and Hapoel Acre visits Bnei Sakhnin. Ironi Kiryat Shmona hosts Hapoel Ra’anana on Sunday, with Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv meeting at Teddy Stadium on Monday.