Nitzan Shirazi 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Despite only receiving a contract until the end of the season, Nitzan Shirazi
admitted on Thursday that the offer to coach Hapoel Tel Aviv was one he simply
couldn’t turn down while adding that he hopes his stay with the Reds will last a
lot longer than everyone is expecting.
The 40-year-old left Hapoel Haifa
less than two months ago after the team’s dismal start to the season and
acknowledged that no one could have predicted that he would be at the helm of a
club of the stature of Tel Aviv so soon afterwards.
“I’m committed to
give my all and to try and lead Hapoel to the success it deserves,” Shirazi
“No one knows if I will be here for four months or four years, but
I will be judged by the results we achieve so I am hoping that my journey with
Hapoel will be a very long one.
“This is a chance of a lifetime. I
understand the meaning of coaching Hapoel.
Had I been told that I would
be the Hapoel coach a month-and-a-half ago I would never have believed
Ironically, Shirazi’s first match as Tel Aviv coach will be against
Hapoel Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Monday.
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Hapoel, currently in
third place in the standings, could find itself 12 points back of Kiryat Shmona
by the time it plays on Monday should the northerners win for the ninth time in
10 matches when they visit Bnei Sakhnin at Doha Stadium on Saturday.
surprise success of Kiryat Shmona and Ashdod has overshadowed Sakhnin’s
impressive first half to the season, but Shlomi Dora’s team can make sure
everyone takes notice of its play should it hand Ran Ben-Shimon’s side its first
defeat in 19 matches.
However, to do so, Sakhnin will need to breach
Danny Amos’s goal, something which hasn’t been done in over six
Kiryat Shmona hasn’t conceded a goal in 622 minutes since
Aleksandar Davidov gave Hapoel Acre the lead in the eighth minute of an eventual
2-1 victory for the northerners.
Ashdod will be crossing its fingers
Sakhnin can crack Ben-Shimon’s defense so that it can close the six-point gap on
Kiryat Shmona when it hosts Bnei Yehuda on Saturday.
Ashdod, which is
unbeaten in 14 matches, welcomes back Nir Biton after his weeklong trial at
Manchester City, but will face a tricky opponent in Bnei Yehuda, which has won
four of six matches, including a 5-1 thrashing of Hapoel Petah Tikva last
Also Saturday, Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Beersheba, Maccabi
Haifa visits Hapoel Ramat Hasharon, Maccabi Netanya welcomes Hapoel Acre and
Hapoel Rishon Lezion faces Maccabi Petah Tikva.
After snapping its
eight-match winless streak with a 2-1 victory over Maccabi Netanya last week,
Betar Jerusalem goes for its second straight triumph on Sunday when it visits
Hapoel Petah Tikva in a crunch showdown in the battle against relegation.
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