Levy signs with Beersheba, teams gear up for next season

The Premier League season has only just ended, but the coaching merry-go-round is already in full swing.

May 17, 2012 23:48
2 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv wins 3rd straight State Cup

Hapoel Tel Aviv wins 3rd straight State Cup 370 . (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

The Premier League season has only just ended, but the coaching merry-go-round is already in full swing.

After not having his contract renewed following four seasons at Maccabi Haifa, Elisha Levy wasted little time before choosing his next destination, signing for Hapoel Beersheba just a day after losing to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the State Cup final.

In his four years with the Greens, Levy led Haifa to two championships and three cup finals, as well as participation in the Champions League and Europa League group stages.

Nevertheless, he was told last month that he would not be continuing following a disappointing season.

Haifa eventually ended its league campaign in fifth place and its 2-1 loss to Hapoel in the cup final meant that it failed to qualify for European competition for the first time in four years.

“I left a big club to join another big club,” Levy said on Thursday after signing with Beersheba, which only maintained its Premier League status in the final weekend of the season.

“I think a team that brings 12,000 fans to a match when it’s fighting against relegation belongs among the big clubs.

“I believe we will build a team that will live up to the expectation level from a club like this.”

Levy’s replacement at Maccabi Haifa is already making his presence felt, with Reuven Atar meeting Thursday with the core of the squad around which he plans to rebuild the team.

Foreigners Seidu Yahaya, Bojan Saranov, Jurica Buljat and Danijel Cesarec were not invited to the meeting as they are all set to be released, while Haifa is also looking to loan out Hen Azriel and Ali Osman.

“We are starting anew so go and enjoy your holiday because I want you to come back fresh for the start of training,” Atar told the players.

Stepping into Atar’s big shoes at Netanya is Tal Banin, who is confident he can guide the club to continued success.

“There is a wonderful squad here and I am not afraid of the challenge,” said Banin, who led Hapoel Haifa to another season in the top-flight after replacing Nitzan Shirazi in November of last year.

With Eli Cohen also agreeing personal terms to stay at Betar Jerusalem for another season, only three jobs remain up for grabs in the Premier League.

The most lucrative opening remains at Maccabi Tel Aviv, while Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Acre have also yet to sign a coach for next season.

The battle for Premier League promotion will be decided on Friday when Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod meet at the Moshava Stadium in Petah Tikva in a winner-takes-all showdown.

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