(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Fiery Frenchman Luis Fernandez lashed out at his critics once again on Sunday as
he named what is likely to be his final squad as Israel coach.
named a 21-man squad for Israel’s final Euro 2012 qualifier at Malta on October
11 and took advantage of the occasion to launch yet another attack on local
“I’ve tried to act like a professional since I’ve arrived, but
there are journalists who threaten players on the day of a match,” Fernandez
said in a press conference at Israel Football Association headquarters at
National Stadium in Ramat Gan.
“You demand of the players to be role
models, but some of you aren’t role models. A player showed me a
threatening SMS a journalist had sent him. Some of you betray the players. You
didn’t respect me enough throughout the campaign.
“If Israel hasn’t
reached a major tournament in 40 years there most be a reason for that. The
players want to succeed, but maybe we need to instill more discipline. We
live in this country, with its culture, and we need to respect
Fernandez is set to leave the blue-andwhite when his contract runs
out following the end of Israel’s European Championship qualifying campaign
after the team came up well short of a top-two finish in Group F.
lost any chance of advancing after falling to both Greece and Croatia earlier
this month and with its match against Malta essentially meaningless, it was no
surprise Fernandez left Arsenal’s Yossi Benayoun out of the squad.
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midfielder is currently recovering from a side strain sustained in last week’s
3-1 League Cup victory over Shrewsbury Town, and although he should be fit in
time for the Malta match, Fernandez decided to give other players a
The suspended Tal Ben-Haim, Eran Zahavi and Omri Ben-Harush were
also all left out, with Itai Shechter not being called up due to his brother’s
Wisla Krakow midfielder Maor Melikson also asked not to be named
to the squad following last week’s saga in which he first announced he would
like to play for the Poland national team before changing his mind and declaring
that, for the moment, he does not want to play for either Israel or
“We have spoken to Melikson and he has asked for some time to
think things over,” Fernandez said. “If a player isn’t fully committed to the
team I’m not interested in him.”
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