Coachless Betar looks to avoid another setback

Betar Jerusalem will enter itss Premier League match following the official resignation of coach Yuval Naim.

Betar Jerusalem 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Betar Jerusalem 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Betar Jerusalem will enter Saturday’s Premier League match against Hapoel Ramat Hasharon in a state of limbo following the official resignation of coach Yuval Naim on Thursday.
Assistant coach Hanan Azulai guided Betar in Thursday’s training session and is set to be on the sidelines for the team’s Premier League encounter against Hapoel Ramat Hasharon on Saturday.
Chairman Itzik Kornfein confronted Betar players on Thursday, telling them: “It may be comfortable for you that the coach has paid the price for your failures, but you are the ones responsible for our recent results and you are the ones who can change our situation.”
Betar, which was knocked out in the last 32 of the State Cup by National League club Bnei Lod on Tuesday, is just two points above the relegation zone after losing its last two league matches, being humbled by both Hapoel Rishon Lezion and Bnei Sakhnin.
“I’m not sorry I came to Betar,” Naim said on Thursday. “I came to the club when no one else wanted to come. I’m leaving a warm and loving club and I pray that Betar will survive in the league.
“I’m certain that I’ll coach Betar again some time in the future.”
Naim admitted that he couldn’t see a way he could continue after consecutive losses to both Sakhnin and Lod.
“Losing twice in a row to Arab clubs is too much,” said Naim, who denied that he was pushed out of the club by Kornfein. “No one wanted to sack me.
It was my decision to leave the club.
“I was at Betar for six months but I feel 10 years older. It is time to leave the stage for someone else who will help Jerusalem stay in the league.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv will also look to rebound from its mid-week shock cup exit at the hands of Hapoel Jerusalem on Saturday when it hosts Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium.
Hapoel Haifa, which trails Betar by two points and is only kept out of the relegation zone thanks to its goal difference, faces a tricky visit to Ashdod SC on Saturday.
Hapoel Tel Aviv can reduce Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s lead at the top to nine points for at least 24 hours with a win at Hapoel Rishon Lezion on Saturday.
Kiryat Shmona will look to continue its surge to the Premier League title when it hosts Beersheba on Sunday.
Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya visits Hapoel Petah Tikva and Bnei Sakhnin hosts Hapoel Acre.
Maccabi Haifa faces Maccabi Petah Tikva at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Monday.