Uri Malmilian signs on to lead Betar Jerusalem; Itzhaki flees to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
By JEREMY LAST
The rebuilding process at Betar Jerusalem got into gear this weekend, with Uri Malmilian confirmed as the club’s new coach and star striker Barak Itzhaki moving to Maccabi Tel Aviv.After a rollercoaster 2009/10 season, chairman Itizik Kornfein is hoping to bring some stability back to the capital.Malmilian, 53, replaces former Betar left back David Amsalem, who took over from Itzchak Schum when Schum quit halfway through last season.The former Hapoel Ashkelon coach was arguably the greatest player in Betar Jerusalem history, playing for the club for nearly 20 years, from 1973 to 1992.Malmilian’s breakthrough – as well as the club’s – came in 1976 when he led Jerusalem to victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the State Cup final, Betar Jerusalem’s first major trophy.“Betar Jerusalem is my home and I am happy to return after so many years,” Malmilian said on Friday.Last season he impressed with Hapoel Ashkelon, which he led to a promotion to the Premier League.“This will complete a 21-year circle for this club,”Kornfein said.Malmilian, the uncle of Betar captain Aviram Bruchian, will not have aneasy task on his hands. The club was plunged back into a difficultfinancial situation when sponsor Guma Aguiar said he will no longerfund the club.Itzhaki is only one of a number of top performers expected to leave Betar.The Itzhaki transfer turned into a saga last week when the striker wassaid to be negotiating with both Hapoel and Maccabi Tel Aviv at thesame time.
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