Sinai Says: Buzaglo's father could ruin his son's career

Ya'akov may very well have played a key role in the development of Maor's career, but he should have taken a back seat long ago.

maor buzaglo 224.88 (photo credit: asaf kliger)
maor buzaglo 224.88
(photo credit: asaf kliger)
There is no doubt that Ya'akov Buzaglo, father of Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Maor Buzaglo, has his son's best interests at heart. However, it is also just as clear that he is slowly but surely destroying Maor's career. The latest episode in the long-running soap opera of Buzaglo and son came this past Sunday when Maccabi decided to fine its promising midfielder some $50,000 for his father's ongoing outbursts at the club. Throughout this season, Ya'akov, a former professional player himself, has seemingly not missed a chance to attack Maccabi in the media, unhappy one week with his son being substituted and outraged the next when Maor's performance was booed by some fans. Maccabi finally decided it had enough of Ya'akov's antics last week and disciplined Maor according to a clause in his contract, which allows the club to fine the player up to $100,000 for his father's words. What probably upset Maccabi most of all, was Ya'akov's visit to England last week after which he announced that three English Premier League clubs are interested in his son's services. Needless to say, Maccabi received no official offers for the 21-year-old talent and the club's management was concerned Ya'akov's actions will bring about unrest and distract his son, who they signed to a four-year contract in the summer in the hope he would become a key component in the club's rebuilding process. Tel Aviv made Maor the most expensive player in Israeli soccer history, agreeing to a deal worth some $2,700,000 to sign him from Maccabi Haifa. Despite being earmarked from a young age as one of Israeli soccer's future stars, Buzaglo never really got the chance to make an impression at Haifa, and was loaned out to Hapoel Petah Tikva in the 2006/07 season to gain first team experience. Last season, Buzaglo developed into one of the Premier League's best players after going out on loan to Bnei Sakhnin, but when Haifa hoped to bring him back to the club ahead of this season, his father vehemently objected. Ya'akov refused to forgive Haifa for not giving his son more playing time when he first graduated to the first team and insisted he be allowed to leave the club. Haifa first opposed and maintained he's still under contract, but Ya'akov embarked on a media campaign, which included a protest outside the offices of Haifa owner Jacob Shahar and a very distasteful comment in which he claimed he felt like he's being held hostage by Hizbullah. Haifa understood there was no point on holding on to Maor under such circumstances and eventually sold him to Tel Aviv for a record fee. Tel Aviv probably thought a potential $100,000 fine would deter Ya'akov from repeating his previous behavior, but discovered very quickly that was not the case. "I don't agree with what my father said. He was speaking in my name, but I think only I can speak in my name," Maor said after exiting the disciplinary committee on Sunday, before hearing of his punishment. "No one has heard this from me before, but I'm telling everyone now that only I represent myself." Unsurprisingly, neither the fine nor his son's pleads stopped Ya'akov, who wasted no time and on Monday published a letter on one of Israel's leading sports Web sites, explaining that jealousy is the driving force behind the criticism leveled at him and his son. Ya'akov may very well have played a key role in the development of his son's career, but he should have taken a back seat long ago. For as long as Maor isn't allowed to direct his own course in life he will likely never realize his full potential and will end up pondering what may have been instead of becoming an Israeli soccer great.