Bnei Yehuda Coach Dror Kashtan 311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
It may not have come as a complete surprise, but no one really expected Hapoel
Tel Aviv to actually fire Dror Kashtan on Monday midway through the Premier
However, the ever-growing rift between the most decorated
coach in Israeli soccer history and Hapoel owner Eli Tabib, combined with Tel
Aviv’s recent poor performances, resulted in a transatlantic phone call between
the two during which Kashtan’s fourth tenure with the Reds was
Just one month ago, Hapoel looked destined to cruise to the
championship, leading the standings following convincing victories over both
arch-rival Maccabi Tel Aviv and reigning-champion Maccabi Haifa.
Hapoel has won just one of its six matches since, dropping to third place, nine
points behind leader Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
Tabib had never got along with
Kashtan’s authoritarian demeanor and the recent disappointing results made the
decision to sack the 67-year-old former Israel national team coach much
Tabib called Kashtan from Miami on Sunday night to tell him that
he is not enjoying the team’s play and is unhappy with his relationship with the
Kashtan, who has six championships and six State Cups on his
resume, told him that he believes he can still guide Hapoel to the league title,
but Tabib replied that as far as he’s concerned Kashtan is fired.
coach asked for the decision in writing and he received it at his home on Monday
Hapoel initially announced that youth department manager Ze’ev
Seltzer will take charge of the team on an interim basis, but in what is a
testament to the disarray at the club, Seltzer heard of his appointment via the
media and subsequently turned it down.
Fitness coach Ron Ziblin was put
at the helm instead and will guide Hapoel in its Toto Cup semifinal against
Maccabi Petah Tikva on Tuesday.
However, Ziblin’s time in the spotlight
isn’t expect to last long, with Tabib indicating that he will name a new coach
in the next few days, with Nitzan Shirazi and Moshe Sinai the early
Meanwhile, Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon
claimed on Monday that Israeli soccer is free from match-fixing, a day after
being questioned as part of a police investigation into corruption.
the end of this investigation, I can promise... that Israeli soccer is clean, as
is the chairman of the IFA,” Luzon said in an interview on Army Radio.
can say with all certainty that no referee fixed any match.”
police said Luzon had been questioned for eight hours in connection with an
investigation into alleged match-fixing and interfering in the placement of
The interrogation came several months after police opened a
broad match-fixing inquiry that has included the questioning of a number of club
and match officials.
“There will be elections for the IFA chairmanship in
2014 so I may stay on until 2018 and, if people annoy me, I’ll continue until
2022,” he said.
“I am not at liberty to discuss the investigation, I wish
I could,” Luzon added.
“But I am more than happy if the police want to
publish all the details from beginning to end and not a snippet.”
Premier League action on Monday, Maccabi Haifa was bitterly disappointing once
more, only managing a 0-0 draw against Bnei Sakhnin at Kiryat
Eliezer.Reuters contributed to this report