Gutman a lock to be named national team coach

Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon says former Hapoel Tel Aviv coach is the sole candidate for the position.

December 25, 2011 02:36
1 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Eli Gutman has Reds on roll

Eli Gutman 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)


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Eli Gutman is set to officially be named as the new Israel national team coach on Tuesday after meeting with Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon and being told that he is the sole candidate for the position.

The 53-year-old, who has long been the favorite to replace Luis Fernandez, met with Luzon and his deputy Stern Haluba on Thursday night and the IFA secretariat is all but guaranteed to unanimously approve his appointment in a vote on Tuesday.

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“I met with Avi Luzon and Stern Haluba and presented to them my professional beliefs,” said Gutman, who has been on a break from coaching since guiding Hapoel Tel Aviv to the State Cup at the end of last season, a year after leading the Reds to the Premier League title.

“We agreed on all the details and I was given their blessing. I’m awaiting the secretariat’s approval. I asked to begin working in January and my request was accepted.”

Nir Klinger, who left Hapoel Beersheba earlier this season, is the favorite to be selected as Gutman’s assistant and the two are set to be at the helm for Israel’s next match, a friendly against Ukraine on February 9.

The national team will also play against Germany in June and Hungary in August before beginning its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign in September.

Israel, which is dreaming of reaching its first World Cup since 1970, will face Portugal, Russia, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg in Group F.

“I don’t think anyone can complain about this appointment,” Israel captain Yossi Benayoun said. “Gutman has proven himself as one of the best coaches in the country and he deserves to guide Israel. I’m very happy for him.”

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