Beitar Jerusalem owner Eli Tabib.
(photo credit: ASAF KLIGER)
Slobodan Drapic became Eli Tabib’s latest coaching casualty at Beitar Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Despite leading Beitar to a third-place finish in the Premier League, securing a berth in the Europa League for 2016/17, Drapic was informed that he will not continue for another season, the latest in a long list of inexplicable decisions made by club owner Tabib.
Drapic was surprisingly appointed as Beitar coach last summer, replacing Guy Levy, who took over from Menahem Koretzki last February and guided the club to European qualification for the first time since 2008 with a fourth-place finish.
After spending the previous couple of seasons coaching Beitar Tel Aviv/Ramle in the National League, Drapic took over a team with just eight players under contract, and after a rough start to the campaign, he guided the side up the standings.
Beitar announced two months ago that Drapic will have his contract extended, but the coach fell out with Tabib in the subsequent weeks, sealing his fate. Tabib didn’t even notify Drapic of the news himself, with the club’s spokesman being left to do the dirty work.
Guy Luzon, who has been out of work since being sacked by Charlton Athletic of the English Championship last October, is the favorite to replace Drapic.
Luzon last coached in Israel in 2010, guiding Bnei Yehuda.
Other candidates for the position include Ran Ben-Shimon and Ofir Haim.
Tabib is hoping to hold on to as many players as possible from last season’s squad, extending midfielder Dan Einbinder’s contract last week before doing so with Australian striker Nikita Rukavytsya on Wednesday.
However, Rukavytsya has a release clause for 400,000 euros and his services are in demand by several teams in the Premier League after scoring 14 league goals for Beitar last season.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Municipality announced on Wednesday that Teddy Stadium will join many sports venues across the world and go green starting from next season. Work will begin next month to integrate a solar-energy system at the stadium, the first of its kind at an athletic arena in Israel.
The 639-kilowatt capacity photovoltaic system will be capable of generating up to about a million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The municipality already announced the project last March, but the work is only set to begin a year later than initially planned.