Shnaider wants Nimni involved for 'many years'

In exclusive interview to 'Post', new Maccabi Tel Aviv owner throws support behind GM Avi Nimni and says he is satisfied with coach Nir Levin.

alex shnaider 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
alex shnaider 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
New Maccabi Tel Aviv owner Alex Shnaider threw his support behind the club's general manager Avi Nimni in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post, although he was less committed to the future of coach Nir Levin. Asked if he was planning a staff overhaul and if this would include Nimni and Levin, the Canadian billionaire, who spent three days in Israel over the weekend, said he sees former Maccabi midfielder Nimni as a crucial element for the club's future. "Avi Nimni is not only a great player, but also an icon who symbolizes Maccabi Tel Aviv, I would like him to be involved with the club for many more years," Shnaider told the Post in his first interview since taking full control of the Tel Aviv club last week. However, regarding Levin, Shnaider would only say that "Coach Nir Levin came to the club mid-season to pull it out of the mud, and management is satisfied with his progress thus far." The full interview will be published in Friday's edition of The Jerusalem Post. Shnaider saw his new club side in action on Saturday night for the first time since the purchase, and Maccabi struggled to draw 2-2 with Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Although he is based in Canada, the 39-year-old Shnaider added that he hopes to travel to Israel as often as possible to attend Maccabi's matches. "I will do everything I can to enjoy the team and its fantastic fans as often as possible," Shnaider said. "But I cannot commit to the frequency of my attendance. My day, too, only has 24 hours!" On Sunday Shnaider gave a short press conference in Tel Aviv where he pledged to give enough financial support to the club to "get Maccabi Tel Aviv back to where it belongs." Maccabi, which only three years ago reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, had a torrid start to the season, losing six of its first seven league games. There has been some sort of a turnaround in recent weeks with the yellow and blue moving up to eighth place in the Premier League standings following some stronger performances. Shanider also admitted at Sunday's press conference that he has realized a childhood dream with the purchase of Maccabi Tel Aviv. "Every Israeli child has two dreams. The first is to be a professional player and the second is to own a club. I didn't manage to fulfill the first dream so I realized the second dream," he said.