Mac TA gets back on winning track

With club’s owner and new coach in attendance, yellow-and-blue tops Betar 1-0.

Ivanir Goldhar 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Ivanir Goldhar 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
The effect of Moti Ivanir’s appointment as Maccabi Tel Aviv coach was clear for all to see at Bloomfield Stadium on Monday night as the yellow-and-blue overpowered Betar Jerusalem 1-0 to claim a welldeserved Premier League victory.
Ivanir may only officially take charge of the team on Tuesday morning, but even with the new coach watching from the stands, Maccabi finally showed the urgency and determination it so desperately lacked under Avi Nimni’s guidance.
Tel Aviv was the more dangerous team throughout, but it had to wait until the 78th minute to score the winner, with substitute Roberto Colautti tucking in Maor Buzaglo’s deflected cross to give interim coach Itzik Ovadia his first and likely last win at Maccabi.
The three points move Tel Aviv back into third position, six points from Hapoel Tel Aviv and eight behind leader Maccabi Haifa.
Earlier Monday, Ivanir admitted that he has fulfilled a life-long dream by being named as Maccabi’s coach.
“When you aspire for something you never lose hope,” Ivanir said. “I knew that to get here I would have to take the long route. I did everything I could so that one day I would get my chance at Maccabi Tel Aviv. I’m delighted that after all that I have come through I have finally gotten here.”
Ivanir also spoke of what he expects from his new players.
“We have an excellent squad of players,” he said. “The players need to first and foremost show they are committed.
They need to understand that they are playing for the biggest club in Israel.
Any player who takes for granted the fact that he is playing for Maccabi will quickly learn otherwise. It is a great privilege to play for Maccabi.”
Goldhar is hoping, more than anything else, to see a change in the team’s approach under Ivanir’s guidance.
“My expectations are about attitude, not championships,” Tel Aviv’s Canadian’s boss said.
“We need to have a team that hates to lose, that gives everything they have of themselves to Maccabi. If we finish in fifth place with bloody noses I prefer this than to finish higher with clean shirts.”
Goldhar also explained why he chose Ivanir as Avi Nimni’s successor.
“The decision to select Moti as the next coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv was based on numerous things, but one of the things is his history with Maccabi,” he said. “I also liked his journey. A journey that started with the youth team and continued in the senior team before starting again at the bottom of the coaching world.
“This is a man who has tremendous drive and determination to be a great coach and I was impressed by his journey.
“To me that work ethic and determination, his no-shortcut attitude, captures the values that I prize. It is my vision that Maccabi will have this culture and Moti is an excellent pick to develop this culture.”
Goldhar rejected any claims that he handled Nimni’s sacking inappropriately.
“I woke up at 5:30 in the morning so I could speak myself directly to Avi,” he noted. “Avi knows that I did this out of respect. He knows I could not be in Israel. I know there are fans who admire Avi. I admire Avi, but I say to the fans that no one is bigger than the game.
This is not about one person.
“This is a team with a fantastic history and it must continue to move forward. I understand their feelings, but coaches accept responsibility when they take the job and so did Avi Nimni.”