Guy Luzon will guide Hapoel Tel Aviv for the last time tonight when it visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona in Premier League action, quitting yesterday due to the disarray at the club.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Any notion that Hapoel Tel Aviv’s crisis ended with last week’s change in ownership was dashed once and for all on Wednesday following the resignation of coach Guy Luzon.
Luzon, who only joined the team in September to replace Eli Gutman, will leave the club after Thursday’s match at Ironi Kiryat Shmona, deciding to quit due to the dramatic changes the squad is undergoing.
The new ownership group led by the Nisanov brothers has reached agreements with just 11 senior players as of Wednesday, insisting that the club’s new budget doesn’t allow them to pick up the contracts of many of the players brought to the team by previous owner Amir Kabiri.
“I had a fantasy that once the club would have new owners it would embark on a bright new course,” said Luzon earlier Wednesday before making his final decision. “Hapoel Tel Aviv is bigger than any coach and any player. But as far as I’m concerned, if I’m not certain that I have a squad that is capable of keeping us in the Premier League I will not stay.”
Hapoel was officially deducted nine points on Tuesday for entering a stay of legal proceedings. Hapoel, which dropped to last place in the standings and is seven points from safety, turned to the Tel Aviv District Court last month due to debts estimated at over NIS 100 million.
Hapoel hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv next Monday and the yellow-and-blue will be entering the showdown brimming with confidence after beating Hapoel Ra’anana 4-1 in Netanya on Wednesday, moving back within eight points of leader Hapoel Beersheba.
Maccabi claimed its second straight win over all competitions since the sacking of coach Shota Arveladze, with sports director Jordi Cruyff at the helm once more.
Yossi Benayoun (8) and Barak Itzhaki (37) gave the yellow-and-blue a two-goal lead at the break. Mohammed Shaker (53) gave Ra’anana a lifeline, but Maccabi was awarded a penalty just 80 seconds later, which was converted by Tal Ben-Haim, before Vidar Orn Kjartansson (69) put the icing on the cake.
Elsewhere Wednesday, Ashdod SC beat Hapoel Haifa 1-0 and Hapoel Kfar Saba and Bnei Yehuda drew 1-1.