Maccabi Haifa has started training in anticipation for its clash against Bosnian side Borac Banja Luka in the second round of the UEFA Champions League. Haifa which has signed several new players for the upcoming season are getting themselves ready by participating in a tournament in Austria. So far the results have been poor in the games, but Manager Elisha Levy has been encouraged by the new signings and hope that they will gel in time for their first meaningful game. Haifa played two games, one against Rapid Bucuresti losing 1-0, and one against Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk losing 2-0. Here are the highlights below against Shakhtar.
Lineup for Haifa was (Nir Davidovic, Eyal Meshumar, Jurica Buljat, Andrei Pilavskiy, Taleb Tawatha, Eyal Golasa, Gustavo Boccoli, Yaniv Katan, Idan Vered, Wiam Amasha and Vladimir Dvalishvili.
- Omer Damari of Maccabi Petah Tikva is closed to transferring to Celtic FC for a sum of two million pounds
- Roei Dayan of Hapoel Acco has transferred to Belgian club AC Beerschot for an undisclosed sum
- Gil Vermouth finally completed his transfer with German club FC Kaiserslautern with Itay Shechter to shortly follow
- Dudu Biton is being linked with a move to Wisla Krakow
- Maor Buzaglo has rejected a move to Hapoel Tel-Aviv and will likely head to Europe
- Hapoel Be’er Sheva defender Oded Gavish has stated that Be’er Sheva will be the only club he plays for in Israel after being linked with moves to Hapoel Tel-Aviv and Racing Genk
- British media are reporting that Portsmouth defender Tal Ben-Haim may be on his way to newly promoted Queen’s Park Rangers
- Maccabi Haifa is being linked with Hapoel Acco defender Itzik Cohen, in exchange Hapoel Acco want three players
- Peter Masilela is on his way out at Maccabi Haifa and is likely to transfer to Belgian champions Racing Genk
- Espanyol striker Ben Sahar has been linked with a moved to French club AJ Auxerre after being declared surplus requirements at the Spanish Club
- Tomer Hemed has signed with Mallorca and will be the second Israeli on the team after keeper Dudu Aouate
- Maccabi Haifa completed the signings of Jurica Buljat, Bojan Saranov, Dela Yampolsky, and Wiyam Amasha
- Lior Rafaelov has reportedly signed with Club Brugge for a fee of 2.5 million Euros from Maccabi Haifa
- Maccabi Tel-Aviv have offered bad boy Maor Buzaglo to Hapoel Tel-Aviv for a fee 750,000 dollars
- Arik Benado has announced his retirement after an illustrious career with Maccabi Haifa and Beitar Jerusalem
- Itay Shechter still hasn’t been released from his contract with Hapoel Tel-Aviv but never the less went ahead with his training at Kaiserslautern
The relationship between Eli Tabib and Moni Harel at Hapoel Tel-Aviv after what seemed liked an amicable beginning has quickly deteriorated into a ugly mess that threatens to hurt the club and set it back; however this is merely a reflection of what has occurred in recent years in Israeli football. An example of this can be seen in the rise and fall of Beitar Jerusalem. After owner Arkadi Gaydamak purchased Beitar Jerusalem he poured over 100 million dollars into the club however the club failed to reach the Champions league. He subsequently stopped putting any money into the club at all after he had to deal with several personal affairs including an indictment for money laundering. However Gaydamak for unknown reasons continues hold onto the club even though he puts nothing into it. Beitar just avoided relegation this season, and will face an uphill battle next season to keep its place in the Ligat Ha’al due to lack of funds. Another example of this would be Daniel Jammer of Maccabi Netanya who poured millions into Maccabi Netanya hoping to win a championship in Israel but instead only came in second place and wound up giving up on the club. Israeli football needs owners that are committed to their teams and the grassroots development of football. The IFA needs to implement regulations that would allow them to screen for owners that would be responsible towards their clubs and would ensure the continued growth of their teams and the league. Israeli football is entering a key stage as the number of quality players has dramatically increased over the past few years, this is most notable in the number of Israel players now overseas, whicn now numbers over 20. The IFA needs to seize the opportunity to develop and strengthen the league so that the league can improve. If this fails to happen Israel will become another medium sized European league exporting players to teams and leagues with higher budgets and more prestige.
- Tomer Hemed is still undecided on whether to join Rangers or stay with Maccabi Haifa, Haifa owner Yaakov Shahar has offered Hemed and extended contract and Hemed is reportedly 50/50 on whether to stay or go
- Maccabi Haifa has rejected Club Brugge’s offer for star midfielder Lior Rafaelov. The Belgians reportedly offer 1.5 million Euros for the player while Haifa is demanding 3 million Euros.
- Hapoel Tel-Aviv and Racing Genk are interested in Hapoel Be’ersheva defender Oded Gavish. The player has indicated he would rather stay in Israel for the time being so Hapoel are the more likely candidates for the player.
- Maccabi Haifa have give their permission for Shai Maimon to go on trial with German second division club Eintracht Frankfurt
- Maccabi Netanya owner Daniel Jammer has transferred ownership of Maccabi Netanya to Kobi Baldev, and Gil Lev.
- Maccabi Haifa are likely to finalize the signings of Croatian defender Jurica Buljat and Serbian goalkeeper Bojan Šaranov this coming week
- New Hapoel Tel-Aviv manager Dror Kashtan has made a wish list of players he wishes to sign in the offseason, including Dele Aiyenugba, Omer Damari, Tal Ben-Haim and Itzik Azuz.
- Yossi Abuksis has been signed as the new manager of Bnei Yehuda FC