Hap Beersheba coach Azuri plays down expectations

"I will be very pleased if we end the season in the middle of the table," club owner Alona Barkat says.

hapoel beersheba 88 (photo credit: )
hapoel beersheba 88
(photo credit: )
Of the six new teams to play in the Premier League this coming season, Hapoel Beersheba will face the steepest expectations. While Hapoel Haifa, Hapoel Acre, Hapoel Ramat Gan, Hapoel Ra'anana and Ahi Nazareth will all be more than happy with merely avoiding relegation, Beersheba supporters will settle for nothing less than a place among the league's top sides due to its larger budget and rich history. On Tuesday, club owner Alona Barkat and new coach Guy Azuri attempted to lower the expectations slightly in the season-opening press conference. "The league is desperate for a club like Beersheba and if we work properly we will be fighting for a place in the top in a few years," said Azuri, a former Betar Jerusalem assistant coach who has already brought in former Maccabi Tel Aviv and Betar Jerusalem goalkeeper Tvrtko Kale among others. "However, we must be patient. The fans will very much decide in which direction this team goes. If they support us when the going gets tough we will succeed." Barkat stressed that she expects no more than a place in the top half of the standings for the team which came third in last season's National League to win promotion. "Beersheba always faces high expectations, but it is important for me to remind everyone that we only gained promotion this season after four years in the National League," she said. "We've built a new team and our main goal is to maintain our place in the Premier League. I will be very pleased if we end the season in the middle of the table. "I like to plan for the long term and I have no doubt that in the future Beersheba will be one of Israel's top sides. But it will take time and we need to be patient."