ISRAEL COACH Eli Gutman 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Eli Gutman is set to remain as the coach of the Israel national team for two more years and guide the blue-and-white in Euro 2016 qualifying.
The Israel Football Association announced on Sunday that chairman Avi Luzon and his deputy Stern Haluba have decided to extend Gutman’s contract by two years. The association’s secretariat is expected to rubber-stamp the decision next week.
Just last week, the IFA declared that it has set up a committee to pick the Israel coach, with Luzon, Haluba, IFA CEO Rotem Kemer, former Israel international Tzvika Rosen and former national team coach Dror Kashtan being named as its members.
However, the IFA said on Sunday that there is no longer any need in a committee and barring any extremely unexpected developments, Gutman’s contract extension will be made official next week.
The 55-year-old guided Israel to a third-place finish in Group F of World Cup 2014 qualifying behind Russia and Portugal.
With 24 teams to qualify for Euro 2016 in France, eight more than in recent European Championships, the group winners, runners-up, and the best thirdplaced team will all advance automatically.
The eight remaining thirdplaced sides will contest playoffs for four more berths, with the qualifying draw scheduled to take place on February 23.Beitar draws Hap Haifa
Also on Sunday, Beitar Jerusalem twice came back from behind to draw 2-2 with Hapoel Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Zarko Korac gave the hosts an eighth-minute lead that was canceled out by Israel Rosh’s owngoal a minute before the break.
Tadas Kijanskas headed Haifa back in front, only for Itzik Cohen to earn Beitar a point with an equalizer in the 83rd minute.
Haifa remained in sixth place on 24 points, with Beitar moving up one spot to ninth with 19 points.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Haifa.