Guy Levy was named as the new Hapoel Tel Aviv coach last night, ending a twomonth saga..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
After an arduous and often embarrassing saga, Hapoel Tel Aviv finally has a new coach. Guy Levy was named as Hapoel’s new head coach on Thursday and will replace Spaniard Cesar Mendiondo, who was sacked back on September 3 after just two Premier League matches.
Assistant coach Walid Badir has guided the team over the past two months, with Hapoel dropping into the relegation zone after losing its past three matches.
Levy has been out of work since the end of last season, despite a successful stint at Beitar Jerusalem. The 49-year-old guided Beitar to European qualification for the first time since 2008, leading the team to a fourthplace finish after replacing Menahem Koretzki in February.
Nevertheless, owner Eli Tabib chose not to extend his contract.
Hapoel owner Amir Kabiri initially hoped to bring in another foreign coach in place of Mendiondo, but couldn’t find one. He then turned his sights to Eli Gutman after his tenure as Israel national team coach ended in failure.
However, Gutman’s financial demands and hopes of working abroad ended his candidacy.
For a few hours earlier this week, veteran Dror Kashtan was the new favorite for the job, before Kabiri decided to inquire with Hapoel Ra’anana regarding the services of Haim Silvas.
He also checked with Maccabi Petah Tikva coach Ran Ben-Shimon regarding his availability and after that option was ruled out, met with former Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Beersheba coach Elisha Levy.
Ultimately, the indecisive Kabiri signed Guy Levy, who will be coaching his 13th different team.
Levy will take over the side following Saturday’s match at Ra’anana, with Badir to guide the team one last time.
Levy’s appointment was received with anger by many Hapoel fans after he said last season that he felt it would be wrong for Beitar to sign an Arab player as it would create “unnecessary tension” and would result in more harm than good.
Elsewhere Saturday, Maccabi Tel Aviv looks to move back up to first place ahead of Hapoel Beersheba for at least 48 hours when it hosts Maccabi Netanya at Bloomfield Stadium. Maccabi is coming off Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Porto in the Champions League, with the yellowand- blue still without a point in Group G, but at least finally with a goal to its name.
Netanya will be guided by assistant coach Guy Tzarfati after Shlomi Dora was sacked by the rock-bottom team on Monday.
Netanya, which has won just one of nine matches so far this season, is hoping to complete the signing of Reuven Atar next week.
Beersheba, which leads Maccabi on goal difference, welcomes Hapoel Haifa on Monday.
Elsewhere Saturday, Bnei Yehuda visits Bnei Sakhnin, Hapoel Kfar Saba hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Hapoel Acre faces Maccabi Petah Tikva.
Maccabi Haifa welcomes Beitar Jerusalem on Sunday.