See ya later, Nimni!

Maccabi’s favorite son sacked by Goldhar for ‘inability... to achieve satisfactory results’.

January 5, 2011 06:18
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv manager Avi Nimni

Avi Nimni 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)


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Maccabi Tel Aviv owner Mitch Goldhar stunned Israeli soccer on Tuesday, firing manager and club icon Avi Nimni.

Just several hours after the team suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat at Maccabi Haifa, the yellow-and-blue’s Canadian boss called the 38-year-old playing legend to notify him that his services are no longer required.

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“The ownership feels that the team’s performances to date have fallen short of the clear goals and expectations set out at the beginning of the year,” a statement released by Maccabi read.

Nimni first assumed coaching responsibilities in November 2008 when he stepped down from the front office to replace the sacked Ran Ben-Shimon.

The team finished in sixth place in the 2008/09 campaign, before coming in third position last season, well adrift of the top two.

Goldhar went on a spending spree ahead of the current campaign, bringing in 12 new players, with the team’s budget totaling well over NIS 100 million.

However, the results on the field continued to disappoint, with Maccabi picking up just o n e of a poss i b l e 18 points in its matches against top-six opponents, culminating in Monday’s embarrassing performance at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.

“I am concerned by the inability of the team to achieve satisfactory results,” Goldhar said.

“More than just the results, it is the performances as well that have guided my decision.

“Following considerable investment in quality players, it is apparent at this juncture we are not reaching our potential. Our aim is to challenge for the championship.

Performances and patterns to date show that we are not on course.”

Goldhar went on to express his gratitude to Nimni.

“I would like to thank Avi Nimni for his contribution and his commitment to Maccabi,” he said. “I have gotten to know Avi and I have come to appreciate this intelligent, dedicated Maccabi soccer personality. I respect and like Avi as a person and wish him all the best in the future.”

After a meeting with owner representative Jack Angelides and CEO Uzi Shaya, coach Yossi Mizrahi and the club also agreed to part company by mutual consent, with Mizrahi only being brought into the coaching staff ahead of this season.

First team coaching duties will be taken on by Itzik Ovadia as caretaker, but Maccabi is hoping to name a full-time replacement as soon as possible.

Former Maccabi Haifa coaches Roni Levy and Itzhak Schum and former Maccabi Tel Aviv playing legend Moti Ivanir are the early favorites to take charge of the team.

“I maintain my commitment to building Maccabi into a winning organization,” Goldhar said. “This will take time. Inevitably there will be changes. We move forward on this journey together, through the good as well as the difficult times.”

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