Local Soccer: Balbul looks to boost Bnei Sakhnin

Local Soccer Balbul loo

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October 23, 2009 00:00
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Marco Balbul will guide Bnei Sakhnin for the first time on Saturday after joining the club on Wednesday, replacing the sacked Eran Kulik. Balbul, who left his position as Avi Nimni's assistant at Maccabi Tel Aviv, has an ideal opportunity to get his tenure at Sakhnin off on the right foot, with rock-bottom Hapoel Ra'anana visiting the Doha Stadium on Saturday. Sakhnin is two places above Ra'anana after winning just once in its first six matches of the season, but despite its relative struggles will be expected to beat the Sharon minnows. "I'm happy to be at Sakhnin," Balbul said. "I believe that this squad can do better than it has done so far. Had I not believed that this was the case I would have not taken the job." Balbul's only previous experience as a head coach was at Hapoel Beersheba, where he failed to lead the team to promotion from the National League. "This is my first match as a head coach in the Premier League, but I'm used to coaching under pressure," he said. "I have a lot of experience as a player and as an assistant coach in the Premier League and I'm focused on Saturday's match." Meanwhile, Hapoel Haifa will look to remain in second position and rebound from last week's disappointing 2-1 loss to Hapoel Petah Tikva when it visits Bnei Yehuda. Haifa has won all three of its road matches so far this season, while Bnei Yehuda has a perfect home record. Maccabi Tel Aviv will be confident of claiming its second straight win when it hosts Hapoel Ramat Gan on Saturday. Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya hosts Hapoel Beersheba, Maccabi Petah Tikva visits Ashdod SC and Hapoel Acre will hope to win its first match of the season when it visits Hapoel Petah Tikva. On Sunday, Hapoel Tel Aviv visits red-hot Ahi Nazareth, which has won three straight matches. Maccabi Haifa hosts Betar Jerusalem on Monday.

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