Dutchman Mohammed Allach (left) was announced as Maccabi Haifa’s new technical director yesterday after a meeting with club owner Jacob Shachar (right).
(photo credit: REUVEN COHEN/MACCABI HAIFA WEBSITE)
The latest chapter in Maccabi Haifa’s quest to return to Premier League prominence began on Monday when the Greens announced the appointment of Dutchman Mohammed Allach as their new technical director.
The 44-year-old will fill a position that hasn’t been occupied since the departure of Norwegian Tor-Kristian Karlsen in May. Karlsen lasted just one season at the club, which previously didn’t have a sports director.
Unlike Karlsen, who mainly worked as a scout before coming to Haifa, Allach, who goes by the name of Mo, has served as the technical director of Eredivisie club Vitesse over the past four years, and previously worked with the Netherlands national team.
Despite a hefty investment, Haifa has fallen well short of expectations over recent seasons. The club dominated local soccer in the first decade of the 21st century, but hasn’t even been able to challenge Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Beersheba for the league title over the past five years.
“I’m really happy to join such a big club.
It is a great honor for me and I’m very proud,” Allach told the club’s website. “I’m proud for myself and proud for the club at which I worked, and which supported this move.”
Shachar explained the thinking behind the hiring of Allach.
“First and foremost, we are committed to our decision to try and establish this new position at the club,” said Shachar. “It is true that it didn’t go well with the last one.
We received many recommendations and I really hope that this time it will go well and we will embark on a new course.
“Mo is a charming man,” added Shachar.
“I really hope that we will all allow him to do his job. When I say all I mean those within the club and those on the outside. I believe that Mo will help us move forward and succeed.”
The first big decision facing Allach is whether to continue with head coach Guy Luzon. Haifa is in sixth place in the standings, winning for only the fourth time in 10 matches on Sunday, beating Bnei Sakhnin 2-0. Allach watched that match from the stands and the early indications are that he will allow Luzon to keep his job for the time being. Haifa, which is seven points off first place, doesn’t play again until Saturday, November 25 when it visits Maccabi Netanya, with the Premier League taking a three-week hiatus due to the international break, extended by another week in Israel to allow clubs to resurface their pitches.
In other news, former Maccabi Haifa player and coach Jonny Hardy passed away on Monday. He was 83.
Hardy was born in Haifa and first played for the Greens’ senior side as a 16-year-old.
He made 193 appearances for the team and scored 70 goals. Hardy was part of the squad that led Haifa to its first title, the State Cup in 1962. He worked for the club’s youth department following his retirement, with the likes of Ronny Rosenthal, Reuven Atar and Eyal Berkovic among the players to have come through Haifa’s junior teams during his time. He was also the senior team’s assistant coach when it won the league championship in 1988/89.
“We will never forget Jonny the player, Jonny the coach and Jonny who contributed so much to Maccabi Haifa Football Club,” said Shachar.
In Premier League action on Monday, Hapoel Ashkelon and Ironi Kiryat Shmona drew 0-0.