Local Soccer: Levin finally takes charge at Maccabi TA

The Maccabi Tel Aviv coaching saga finally ended Tuesday afternoon when Nir Levin was appointed to guide the team. Levin will replace Eli Cohen, who was sacked 10 days ago following Tel Aviv's 3-2 Israeli Premier League loss to Maccabi Petah Tikva. Guy Levy, coach of the Israel Under-21 team, was offered the position first. But despite agreeing to personal terms with the yellow-and-blue, he didn't join the club after the Israel Football Association refused to release him from his contract. "I'm very happy to join Maccabi Tel Aviv," Levin said Tuesday. "I've worked here before and did well." Levin, 45, first joined Maccabi during the 2000/01 season after Shlomo Sharf was fired two matches into the campaign. Despite winning State Cups in 2001 and 2002, he was released from the team. Last year, Levin replaced Itzhak Schum at Hapoel Tel Aviv in the middle of the season and lifted the State Cup for the third time in his career. But it was not enough to convince the Hapoel management to keep him on and he was replaced by Guy Luzon during the summer. "I hope that within 10 days the team will look better," Maccabi president Loni Hertzikovitch said. "I have good memories from Levin's time here." Birmingham City defender Olivier Tebily trained with Maccabi Tuesday evening and might be signed. The 31-year-old Ivory Coast international joined Birmingham in March 2002, but is currently out of favor at the Premier League side. Tebily made just seven first-team appearances during the 2006/07 season and hasn't played in the current campaign.