Sinai Says: Golasa’s grand betrayal

His impetuous and irresponsible decision to sneak off to Italy and sign with Serie A club S.S. Lazio will cause irreparable damage.

Eyal Golasa’s impetuous and irresponsible decision to sneak off to Italy and sign with Serie A club S.S. Lazio will cause irreparable damage to the career of one of Israel’s most promising soccer players.
Golasa’s immature and ungrateful behavior towards Maccabi Haifa has tarnished his reputation beyond repair, regardless of what he accomplishes on the pitch from here on out.
The 18-year-old midfielder clearly believes he is no longer under contract at Haifa and is free to join Lazio. However, even if that is determined to be the case – which seems quite unlikely at the moment – he has disgraced himself and has made a costly mistake he will live to regret for many years to come.
Few people knew who Golasa was a mere 19 months ago when Haifa paid millions of shekels to the Betar Nes Tubrok youth academy and Golasa’s family in order to bring the gifted playmaker to the club. Golasa’s raw talent was undeniable, but Haifa was nevertheless taking a risk as it remains impossible to predict which youth prodigies will make the successful switch to the top ranks and which will fall by the wayside.
Coach Elisha Levy nurtured and supported Golasa, handing him his debut before his 17th birthday. He appeared in 27 of Haifa’s 33 Premier League matches last season, playing a valued supporting role in the team’s run to the championship.
Golasa broke into Maccabi’s starting lineup at the start of this season and impressed in the team’s first Champions League group appearance in seven seasons.
The future was looking so bright for Golasa, but an ugly act of opportunism has now changed all of that in the blink of an eye.
Golasa has yet to speak out on the issue, but it is now clear that he flew to Italy on Friday with his twin brother, Orel, also a Haifa player, to put his signature on an agreement with Lazio. Golasa’s new contract will earn him roughly 350,000 euros a season, assuming of course (as he does) that he is free to join the club.
Golasa didn’t even have the decency to inform Haifa of his decision, with the Greens finding out at the same time as the public through the media that one of their top prospects was planning to leave.
Haifa handed Golasa a five-year deal when he was 17, but the player is convinced that the fact that his mother signed the agreement as his guardian means he is a free agent, as he never re-signed the contract when he turned 18.
Golasa’s legal situation will likely need to be determined by soccer’s governing bodies, but clearly there is no way back to Haifa. Even if it is decided that he is still under contract at the Greens, Haifa will not want the player on its team.
Making matters even worse is that Golasa seems far from ready to play at a top league abroad and will probably get few chances to prove his worth should his move to Lazio be made official.
As impressive as his recent improvement has been, Golasa is simply notgood enough to play in the Serie A at the moment, and with Laziocurrently fighting against relegation, no one at the club will bewilling to take a risk on an Israeli teenager who needs to be on thepitch as much as possible at this stage of his career to developproperly.
Golasa will also need to come to some agreement with the IDF regardinghis army service, which he is set to begin this summer, and it alsoremains to be seen how he will be accepted by the Lazio fans known fortheir fascist and anti-Semitic affiliations.
It all looked so promising for Golasa, but a reckless and childishdecision now casts a serious doubt over his prospects. Golasa may havethe skills to become a top player, but until he develops a character tomatch his talents he will never fulfill his potential.