All change in Ligat Ha’Al
FOOTBALL TWO of Israel’s top three teams have appointed new managers. Vladimir Ivic is the new head coach at Ligat Ha’Al runners-up Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Serb replaces Jordi Cruyff.
Ivic, 41, spent much of his career in Greece where he played as an attacking midfielder for AEK Athens and PAOK Salonika before becoming PAOK’s manager. He led the team to second place in the league and victory in the Greek Cup final in 2016/17.
After winning a hat-trick of league titles, Maccabi have watched Hapoel Beer Sheva do the same over the past three seasons and Ivic understands that second place in Ligat Ha’Al means failure.
“Maccabi is the biggest club in Israel and our aim is to win the title, win the cup and do well in Europe,” said Ivic. “My philosophy is to attack but you need a strong all-round squad.”
Guy Luzon has taken charge of thirdplaced finishers Beitar Jerusalem following the departure of Benny Ben-Zaken.
Luzon, 42, joins Beitar following an unsuccessful spell with Maccabi Haifa. With Beitar owner Eli Tabib having put the club up for sale, Luzon, the former Charlton Athletic boss, will struggle to repeat last season’s third-place finish amid the uncertainty. “I’m delighted to come to a great club like Beitar,” said Luzon. “It is a huge honour and challenge. I wish us all success and I’ll do everything possible to make it happen.”
Maccabi and Beitar will play in the Europa League next season while Hapoel Beer Sheva will represent Israel in the Champions League.