Eli Gutman 311.
(photo credit: (Asaf Kliger))
All indications are that Eli Gutman will be named as the new Israel national
team coach next month.
The Israel Football Association officially
announced on Tuesday that Luis Fernandez’s contract as coach will not be renewed
after the blue-and-white fell well short of qualifying for Euro 2012, finishing
third in Group F, eight points behind winner Greece and six back of
second-placed Croatia, which eventually advanced via the playoffs.
chairman Avi Luzon claimed during Tuesday’s secretariat meeting at National
Stadium in Ramat Gan that he has yet to speak with Gutman about replacing
However, there is an almost unanimous majority among
secretariat members to name Gutman as the next Israel coach, and barring any
unexpected developments, the 53- year-old will be given the job in
“Obviously I’m in favor of Gutman,” secretariat member and
Maccabi Herzliya owner Ariel Shaiman said. “He’s a good coach and he showed his
loyalty to the national team by recently turning down a lot of money to coach
Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“I don’t think Fernandez failed. We haven’t reached a
tournament in 40 years, but nevertheless we all knew Fernandez was done. I think
the next coach will be given a couple of campaigns.
In modern soccer you
need to give the coach a chance to build the team.”
If everything goes to
plan, Gutman will be at the helm for Israel’s friendly match against Ukraine on
February 9, with the national team to also face Germany in June and Hungary in
August before beginning its 2014 World Cup campaign in September.
which is dreaming of reaching its first World Cup final since 1970, will face
Portugal, Russia, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg in qualifying
Gutman has been on a break from coaching since guiding Hapoel
Tel Aviv to the State Cup at the end of last season.
He also led Hapoel
to the Premier League title in 2009/10 and to the Champions League group stage
the following season.
Gutman first rose to prominence when he guided
Hapoel Beersheba to the cup in 1997 and has been regarded as one of the
country’s best coaches for over a decade since leading Hapoel Haifa to its one
and only league championship in 1998/99.