Soccer: Fernandez emerges as top candidate for nat'l team

Luis Fernandez formerly coached Betar Jerusalem.

luis fernandez 311 (photo credit: Jeremy Last)
luis fernandez 311
(photo credit: Jeremy Last)
Former Betar Jerusalem coach Luis Fernandez has emerged as the leading candidate to become the next Israel boss and will meet with Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon on Sunday to finalize his signing as Dror Kashtan’s successor.
The former France legend has been out of work since last June and has reportedly told IFA executives that he loves Israel and would be willing to coach the national team at all cost.
After Kashtan failed miserably last year in his attempt to lead Israel to the World Cup in South Africa, Luzon announced that he would bring in a foreign replacement.
The names of Roberto Donadoni, Jurgen Klinsmann and Frank Rijkaard were all mentioned as candidates, but in the past week it became evident that Luzon would have to settle for a far cheaper option.
Fernandez and former Cameroon coach Winfried Schafer of Germany look to be the final two coaches in the running for the job, with the Frenchman now seeming like the probable appointment.
As a player, Fernandez helped France to the Euro 84 title and was also part of the team which reached the semifinals of the World Cup in 1986.
His coaching career got off to a successful start, winning the EuropeanCup Winners Cup with Paris Saint-Germain in 1996 and guiding Spain’sAthletic Bilbao to the Champions League.
However, his career has floundered in recent seasons.
In November 2005, Fernandez was signed as Betar coach by ArkadiGaydamak, but after just five months fell out with his bosses and leftthe club.
He went on to coach Spain’s Real Betis the following season beforeguiding Stade de Reims of the French second league until he wasreplaced last June.