With all due respect to Maccabi Haifa’s third championship (probably, well), it seems that there are other things on the agenda that need to be talked about. For example, the crash of Maccabi Tel Aviv in the league and in the cup, in six months that made every fan in yellow miss the delusional Lito Vidigal, and all thanks to Aitor Karanka, only the authorities in Canada understand how and why he got the responsibility for Mitch Goldhar’s football team.
Maccabi signed Karanka with her at the beginning of January, after Vladan Ivić – who came to return the championship to area code 03, got a little stuck with the whole business, realized that the squad he built was not a hit and cut an easy feeling for the coach in the steppes of the Russian Caucasus. Those were the days when Maccabi Haifa took over the league, but Karanka got down to business pretty quickly – beat Ashdod, fumbled in a draw against the ridiculous Beitar Jerusalem, then dismantled Maccabi Haifa and completely opened the championship fight.
It almost seemed like bingo, and then the Tel Aviv derby came, five days later – and Po’el came out a sucker when they didn’t win. Then came another tired draw against Sakhnin and a loss to Maccabi Netanya, and Maccabi was already staring at the title. A victory over Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the next round once again restored hopes, and we stopped here. Two weeks later, against Hapoel Jerusalem, Maccabi had already lost (after already leading) in a game where the people who seemed to least believe in the team’s chances of achieving something this season, were actually its players.
But hey, there’s still the trophy. In other words, the cup is no longer there, because Maccabi lost in the semi-finals to a team whose existence was in doubt in the summer and only ugly moves that included the flexing of all possible principles and the complete destruction of another team – made its existence possible. And here, it is unpleasant to say, was the stage when Maccabi Tel Aviv had to send Karanka home.-
The Yellows’ surrender game against Maccabi Haifa on Monday this week was just another unnecessary nail in the coffin. Even when the yellows were leading, it looked like they didn’t believe in themselves. Although everyone played their part according to the circumstances in those minutes – in Maccabi Haifa they played it “concerned” about the possible loss of the championship, in Maccabi Tel Aviv they played the same team with some self-confidence (and only in Hapoel Beer Sheva they really fantasized, apparently), it didn’t take too long before the outgoing champion And the entrant took off the cap that put the opponent in place. And all without too much effort, surprisingly.-
In the end, since Barak Becher left Izzy Sharetzky and moved to Hapoel Beer Sheva and then to Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv has won the championship only twice. The other six championships that have been handed out since then were won by Bacher. 2:6, a result that surely evokes beautiful memories in Kiryat Shalom, and evokes longing for the days when they were the ones to take down the opponent that put her in her place.
And Bacher is actually the key to Maccabi Tel Aviv’s next season. Unless something strange happens, he won’t believe in Israel next season. Maccabi Tel Aviv is freed – finally – from the shadow of the man who knew how to take two peripheral teams and make an empire out of them at the expense of the Yellows from Tel Aviv, whose mission is to be this empire. True, the return of Ben Mansford can also have positive effects, but we have already seen from the comebacks of Ivić (and Zahavi) that the second term is not always a reconstruction of the first, to say the least. What’s more, Mansford will have to build a balanced, smart squad, one that will know how to deal with the power of Hapoel Beer Sheva and what the new coach of Maccabi Haifa will have to offer, and this is not an easy task.
But there is one more thing that Goldhar needs to do – and it should be done quickly, partly to have a positive effect on the squad for next season: send Karanka home. To do what was not done after the loss in the semi-finals, or after the loss to Hapoel Jerusalem in the 25th round. Maccabi Tel Aviv cannot afford infinite patience and patience, and what doesn’t work simply doesn’t work.