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Fernandez emerges as top candidate for national team

My only problem is that I don’t know if he’ll be willing to stay with the team long term. If he sticks around for at least two campaigns, it’s worth it.

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 tocoach 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.


Eyal Golasa signs with Italian club Lazio

February 1, 2010 3 comments

Eyal Golasa joins Lazio
By Simon Griver, February 1, 2010

Eyal Golasa has stunned Maccabi Haifa by signing a four and a half year contract with Italian giants Lazio.

The Israeli international has successfully undergone a medical and joined the Serie A outfit without Maccabi’s knowledge.

Golasa turned 18 in October and had not yet agreed a professional contract with the Israeli champions, though he did sign a five-year agreement with the club when he joined from youth team Betar Tobruk 18 months ago.

However, as Golasa was a minor when he signed the agreement it is not legally binding. The midfielder will earn 350,000 Euros this season and next, with the sum rising subsequently by 50,000 Euros per season.

Golasa has made 20 appearances for Haifa this season and scored seven goals. Golasa said: “I understand Haifa’s anger but more than three months have passed since I became 18 and they were talking to me about sums of money that were not appropriate for a player of my status.”

Maccabi are weighing their legal options and are hoping to scupper the deal by not granting Golosa’s official release before the transfer window closes tonight. In any event the Greens will be entitled to a fee from Lazio for nurturing the player. That fee will be determined by a Uefa arbitration committee.

Golosa’s parents, who are divorced, took different positions on their son’s unilateral action. His father Avner said: “Eyal has stabbed Maccabi in the back. They treated him well and I am ashamed of what he has done.”

His mother Miri said: “We support Eyal and are proud that he has joined a top European club.”

Eyebrows were also raised in Israel because of Lazio’s fascist fans and historical political associations. Maariv’s sports editor Avi Ratzon wrote: “Mussolini must be turning in his grave at the thought of an Israeli wearing a Lazio shirt.”

Golosa hopes to negotiate a deal with the Israeli army based on the agreement with Espanyol striker Ben Sahar who does military service during his time away from the club.


Eyal Golasa: The Newest Diamond from Israel

January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

And just three minutes later, Haifa found the back of the net again, thanks to none other than Golasa.

Golasa deftly controlled a pass in the air with his thigh, and then volleyed a shot that deflected off a defender, and over the off-balanced goalkeeper’s head into the net.

With a fresh boost of confidence, Haifa continued to attack, and had several opportunities, including another volley from Golasa, whose left footed strike from just inside the box fluttered just over the bar just before the half ended.

The Israeli club’s efforts were finally rewarded in the second half, when striker Vladimir Dvalishvili headed home a corner kick in the 59th minute.

In just 44 minutes, Haifa erased a three-goal deficit, and just another three minutes after the game-tying goal, it was Dvalishvili again, who, thanks to Golasa’s efforts to control the ball, collected a pass, turned, and sent a left footed rocket into the back of the net, which sent the crowd into a frenzy like no other.

The game ended with a 4-3 scoreline, and without Eyal Golasa’s presence on the pitch, the Israeli side would have never come back from the massive deficit.

This win helped propel Maccabi Haifa forward, and they had more great performances, thanks to Golasa, and beat Salzberg in two legs to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage, where they faced the likes of Juventus, Bordeaux, and Bayern Munich.

Golasa only played in the first two games against Bordeaux and Bayern Munich and the last game versus Munich because of a leg injury that sidelined him for almost two months, but he received great reviews from the local and foreign media whenever he played.

Speaking of Bayern Munich, they have recently been on the trail of the young Israeli starlet, and Golasa’s agent even stated that within the next 10 days, there is likely to be a deal in place that would take the Israeli to Bavaria.

Whether he will start at Munich is another question, but playing in Germany, for arguably the best team in the nation, would be a huge step forward in Golasa’s development.

Hopefully the new national team coach of Israel will notice the continued successes and great form of Golasa, and he will get his chance to impress on the international stage.

Someday, Golasa will lead the Nivcheret (nickname for the Israeli National Team) out of the tunnel, and possibly into a World Cup!


Winter Football Tournament in Israel

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

A winter tournament is currently being played in Israel. The visiting teams are Germany, Hungary and Serbia. Israel won the first two games and lost the last one to Germany.

Results so far for our team

December 14, 2009
Israel 2 Sebia 1

December 15, 2009
Israel 2 Hungary 0

December 17, 2009
Israel 1 Germany 2

Israel Football Soccer

Will Sahar be better than Assulin?

November 20, 2009 1 comment

Israel has two main young talents: Gai Assulin and Ben Sahar.

In the Israel soccer circles, there has been more excitement about Assulin. He can run better and faster with the ball, creating exciting moments. But is Sahar going to be the better player?

At this point, I would venture to say that yes, he will be. While Assulin is faster, Sahar is stronger and smarter on the pitch.

Sahar is only a year and a half older than Assulin, but is already established as one of the two best players, along with Yossi Benayoun, on the Israel National Team. When the EURO’12 qualifiers begin next September, Sahar, still only 20 years old, will be the best player in Israel.

Assulin is 18.5 years old, and at this age, Sahar was already a regular on the National Team and scored a pair of goals against Estonia. Meanwhile, Assulin is still struggling to make himself into a premier player on the U-21 team.

Sahar is a striker and Assulin is a midfielder, so naturally he should score more, but one would expect that Assulin would have scored at least one goal for the U-21 team. He creates exciting opportunities, but doesn’t do enough with them, eventually running into one of the opposition’s defenders who is capable of stopping him.

Assulin needs to learn that he can’t play against world-class talent the same way he played against lower opposition all his life. He won’t be able to run around everyone and score. He needs to see the field better and use his teammates more.

Assulin has more potential than Sahar, but he will need to make significant improvements prior to the beginning of EURO qualifiers and to make the National Team at least as a substitute before he can be seen as potentially superior to Sahar.

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Israel’s Future Looks Bright

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Israel has some reason to be excited about the future. With the exception of goalies, who usually last longer because they don’t get battered by hits to their knees, the team is still in its 20s.

I don’t expect anyone to retire prior to the end of the EURO qualifiers, probably not even prior to the WC’14 qualifiers.

Meanwhile, some like Ben Sahar will be ready for full-time duty and others like Guy Assulin will contribute at least some.

The best news for Israel NT is that there will be players coming in, but nobody leaving due to old age.


Israel has experienced vets, but nothing special. I am hoping Keinan can pick it up. I’d love to see a tall defender with a good leg so that he could clear headers on defense and score a few from the outside on offense, but nothing like that is on the way. I think defenders will be Israel’s weakest spot with mediocre players like Strool, Ziv, Saban and Ben Dayan whose only positive is their experience.


Tamir Cohen looked better as the qualifiers went on. So did Kayal, the Greek penalty notwithstanding. Kayal especially should show a lot of improvement. He’s young and made some mistakes, but I like this kid. He’ll be very good, very soon.

Between the two of them, DMF should be solid.


Baruchyan, Buzaglo and/or Vermut will be ready. They would be a very good addition to the team, transporting the ball up.

Benayoun will still be around and in his prime. Together with Baruchyan or Buzaglo or Vermut, it will be a good pair of offensive midfielders.

I think Assulin will be ready for part-time duty. With his speed (and skill), he’ll be effective coming in during the second half when others slow down because they get tired. If nothing else, he’ll be able to play the role of Coby Jones during the 1994 WC.

Mohammad Ghadir should come in late in the game a couple of times, but likely won’t play a significant role.

Israel’s WMF will be very dangerous in EURO qualifiers. Finally there will be someone other than Benayoun to transport the ball through the midfield and close to the penalty box.

This is a position where Israel will show a lot of improvement.


Barda, Golan and Colautti (and maybe Toto) are all solid strikers, but Israel will need only 1 of them to start in any given game because Sahar should be ready for full time duty.

I expect big things from him a year from now. I expect that he’ll be Israel’s best player, better than Benayoun.

If I’m right, Israel will be most improved at F, and together with a very solid OMF, will have a very dangerous offense.

Goaltenders and Defenders will continue to be on the third pot level, but midfielders should be solid second pot, and Forwards should be bottom first pot because Sahar is definitely a first pot talent (and at least one of the other 3 strikers should be in good form at any given time).

All in all, this team will only gain from this failed WC qualifier to the next EURO qualifier.

It’s too bad Israel is the top team in pot 3. If it were just one spot higher, it would’ve been in the second pot and would again have a chance to have easier opposition. With the addition of talented youth, it would probably do well.

Even as a third pot team, Israel will finally have a decent amount of talent and hopefully will surprise us with a EURO’12 birth.

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