Ton Caanen decides to leave Betar Jerusalem

Ton Caanen was replaced as head coach earlier in the week by general manager Luis Fernandez.

Ton Caanen announced Thursday that he was leaving Betar Jerusalem after he was replaced as head coach earlier in the week by general manager Luis Fernandez. Fernandez and Betar owner Arkadi Gaydamak offered the Swede a supporting role with the club. "I told Arkadi Gaydamak there is only one position I can work at Betar and that is the head coach of Betar Jerusalem," Caanen said at a press conference. "This is not the job they can give me, they want me as a coach, as part of the technical staff." "It's not that I think I'm too big to be part of the coaching staff but when you work for seven weeks as head coach, it is difficult to make a step back," he added. Caanen said he does not want to stop working in Israel, which he called his "second country" and is open to offers from other clubs. He denied that he had been approached by representatives of Maccabi Tel Aviv, which last week lost manager Nir Klinger following a home loss to Betar. While Betar initially announced that Fernandez would take over as head coach, it was decided later that assistant coach Guy Azuri would be promoted to be head coach until the end of the season. Reigning Premier League champion Maccabi Haifa hosts Betar Jerusalem on Sunday evening, hoping to build on last week's 3-1 away win at Maccabi Petah Tikva. Nitzan Shirazi's Bnei Yehuda travels north to take on Motti Ivanir's Upper Nazareth in the opening match of Premier League Matchday 14 Friday afternoon. Bnei Yehuda playmaker Ben Luz won't dress up for the game as he is still suffering from a nagging knee injury. Reuven Oved will start in his place. Maccabi Tel Aviv will be looking to regain lost ground when it hosts last-place Hapoel Kfar Saba at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday. Manager Eli Driks will continue as caretaker coach, as the club has decided to delay Benny Tabak's promotion. Tabak will continue to manage the Maccabi youth facility. Giovanni Rosso is expected to start on the bench and it's possible that the Croatian will be sold to a European club in January. Veteran Eyal Berkovic will be back in the lineup after he patched up his differences with club management earlier this week. Dror Kashtan's Hapoel Tel Aviv visits "The Box" to take on Maccabi Netanya, which pulled off a surprise 1-1 draw last week at Teddy Stadium against Betar Jerusalem. Tel Aviv captain Yossi Abuksis has a hairline fracture in his ribs and is doubtful for the fixture. "I am experiencing intense pain and I am not sure I will play on Saturday," Abuksis told reporters after Thursday's practice. Netanya has started releasing players as the club has heavy debts and is looking to minimize player salaries. Kobi Hasan will be completing his move to Hapoel Acre and striker Liron Vilner is on his way to Hakoach Ramat Gan. Hapoel Petah Tikva hosts Ashdod SC in an important mid-table clash, with Ashdod coach Yossi Mizrahi under pressure from fans after last week's shock defeat to Bnei Yehuda.