Beersheba brings in Radi; Beitar preps for Charleroi

Beersheba hosts Thun in the first leg at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on Thursday, with the work on the club’s new Turner Stadium still ongoing.

July 13, 2015 01:55
2 minute read.
Hapoel Beersheba

Maharan Radi is on his way to Hapoel Beersheba, with the 33-yearold midfielder leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv after three seasons.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

The good news just keeps coming for Hapoel Beersheba. After reaching an agreement with Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Maharan Radi over the weekend, Beersheba’s hopes of qualifying for the Europa League group stage were handed a boost on Sunday after discovering that it will be seeded in the third qualifying round, should it overcome FC Thun of Switzerland in the second round.

Beersheba hosts Thun in the first leg at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on Thursday, with the work on the club’s new Turner Stadium still ongoing.

After seeing its Premier League championship challenge come up short in each of the past two seasons, Beersheba has added some impressive pieces to its squad over the summer. The 33-year-old Radi, who was handed a two-year deal, will give Beersheba depth and experience in the center of the field after helping Maccabi to three consecutive championships in his three seasons in Tel Aviv.

Beersheba made a change at the coaching position by bringing in Barak Bachar to replace Elisha Levy, but maintained the core of last season’s squad while also signing Ben Sahar, Anthony Nwakaeme, Matan Ohayon, Shir Tzedek and Radi.

Beersheba was knocked out by RNK Split in the second qualifying round last season in what was its first European tie in 17 years. However, by knocking out the seeded Thun it will take its place as a seed in the next round, likely ensuring an easier draw.

Beersheba faces a tough test against Thun, which finished fourth in the Swiss Super League last season and reached the group stage of the Europa League in 2013/14.

Beitar Jerusalem will also be in action on Thursday, visiting Charleroi of Belgium in the first leg of the second qualifying round.

Ironi Kiryat Shmona will enter the competition in the third qualifying round, which will be fol-lowed by a playoff round for a place in the group stage.

The departure of Radi and the lack of new reinforcements is clearly frustrating Maccabi’s new head coach Slavisa Jokanovic ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League second qualifying round first leg at Hibernians of Malta. Maccabi has so far only added one player this summer, signing Israel defender Tal Ben-Haim.

“I had the chance to analyze and check out the players over the last three weeks,” Jokanovic said on Sunday. “As the new guy in town I had to learn what I had in hand and then see how we could improve.

“What we brought in so far is not enough and when I arrived we spoke about three positions to upgrade, but the Israeli market is small,”the Serbian added. “I checked out a number of Israeli players and the club has my opinion on what I think about them.

We will need to sign players soon because right now we have a small squad. We will need to take some serious steps in the next two weeks to upgrade.”

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