Sinai Says: The appointment of Matthaus is a disaster waiting to happen

Daniel Jammer's decision to replace Reuven Atar with Lothar Matthaus is both reckless and wrong.

jp.services2 (photo credit:)
jp.services2
(photo credit: )
Daniel Jammer's decision to replace Reuven Atar with Lothar Matthaus is both reckless and wrong. Maccabi Netanya's German-Jewish owner obviously believes that Matthaus can take his team to the next level, but by signing his countryman he has done the exact opposite. It is more than likely that this experiment will backfire and Matthaus will leave the high flying Netanya in a much worse position than he found it in. Coach Atar's job at Maccabi over the last 16 months has been nothing short of remarkable. The man with the most famous curls in Israeli soccer is on course to guide Netanya to a second place finish in the Premier League for a second straight season and will also be on the sidelines at National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Wednesday after taking the team to the State Cup semifinals for the first time in 13 years. Atar's achievements have all come with a squad which is mediocre at best. The coach made the most of what he was given and expertly groomed the club's youngsters into legitimate Premier League players. On Saturday for example, Maccabi defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-0 with an entire midfield made-up of Atar's fledglings - Almog Cohen, Snir Gueta, Yehiel Tzagai and Dele Yampolsky. Jammer's attraction to Matthaus is clear. A German soccer legend, Matthaus captained West Germany to the World Cup title in 1990 and has been bestowed with every honor a player can dream of. The truth must be told, however, that had Matthaus' coaching credentials been anything like his playing ones he would, at the very least, be currently at the helm of a small European team and not even considering an offer from Netanya. Matthaus began his coaching career with Rapid Vienna in 2001, but achieved his first real success with Partizan Belgrade, guiding the Serbian club to the league title in the 2002/2003 season and to the Champions League group stage the following year. But the German left Partizan midway through his second season at the club to become the coach of the Hungarian national team. Matthaus didn't last long in Budapest as well, leaving after a single and unsuccessful campaign. Next up was Atlético Paranaense of Brazil where Matthaus quit the club in unusual fashion after just seven matches in charge. A mere five weeks after signing for the club he told the management he needed to rush back to Europe to deal with an urgent personal problem. The German assured Paranaense he'd be back in three to four days, but after going missing for two weeks, he faxed in his resignation and never returned to Brazil. In May of 2006, Matthaus signed as coach of Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, but despite helping the team to the league title was unceremoniously fired by the club's board of directors after a single year. One fact cries out when reviewing Matthaus's resume. In seven years as a coach the German guided five different teams and failed to come anywhere near to completing two seasons at any one club. Much like former Betar Jerusalem bosses Luis Fernandez and Ossie Ardiles, the last two world renowned soccer personalities to grace the Israeli league, Matthaus is coming to Israel not because he wants to, but because he can't do any better. And much like Fernandez and Ardiles it's difficult to see the German lasting even a single season at the club. A colleague of mine jokingly told me last week that Jammer probably only signed Matthaus so he will then be able to realize a childhood dream of firing one of Germany's all-time greats. To be honest, I can't think of a more rational reason for replacing Atar with the German. allon@jpost.com