GUY LUZON announces signing with Belgian club Standard Liege.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Scrutiny is nothing new for Guy Luzon.
However, the Israel Under- 21
national team coach faces unprecedented pressure starting Wednesday, with his
every step, word and decision to come under the microscope.
To guide the
home team in the European Championship is always going to be a stressful
experience, but for Luzon it will be far tougher.
Expectations may not be
so high considering that Israel was handed a place in the tournament as the host
and that it plays powerhouses England and Italy in Group A, as well as Norway,
which it welcomes at Netanya in the opener on Wednesday.
But that will be
of little help to the under-fire Luzon.
The 37-year-old coach believes he
faces unfair criticism due to his surname and he is, in part, correct.
the same time, he has also received several significant shortcuts in his
coaching career by virtue of being the nephew of controversial Israel Football
Association chairman Avi Luzon.
Despite the harsh, but generally
accurate, critique leveled at the Luzons when the uncle named the nephew as
coach of the Under-21 side almost three years ago, Guy had managed with time to
rewrite his reputation, until last week that is.
While the Under-21 team
was limited to friendly matches (as it wasn’t required to qualify for the
championship) Luzon’s side impressed with its level of performance and
infectious team spirit.
But all of the hard work by the promising coach
was forgotten in seconds last Monday.
Luzon revealed he would be joining
Belgian club Standard Liege following the tournament, a stunning development
considering both the prestige of his next job and the timing of the
While it is hard, although not unreasonable, to expect
Luzon to forgo a chance to coach a well-respected European club, it was no doubt
a grave mistake to have agent Dudu Dahan sitting alongside him in the official
Luzon embarrassingly showered Dahan with compliments
before listening to the agent praise himself on his latest
Almost immediately, Luzon’s inappropriate and harmful
conduct saw him lose all the credit he had toiled for over recent
Not surprisingly, tough questions were raised regarding Luzon’s
squad selection and if perhaps Dahan may influence who plays for the
There is no reason to believe Luzon would stray so far
away from professional codes, but it was his inexplicable behavior that opened
the door to such accusations, blemishing the entire team.
exceed expectations over the coming fortnight, Luzon will rightfully be hailed
as the mastermind behind the success and his promotion to Liege will only seem
However, the first to be blamed should the team disappoint in
its group games over the next week will undoubtedly be Luzon, who will yet again
be helpless in the face of his portrayal as a master manipulator who owes his
status to his connections rather than his email@example.com