Israel's Soccer Team gets New Coach

Published: March 22nd 2010
in News » Israel

Israel Footbal Association
Pic: IFA

The Spanish born Luis Fernandez was named head coach of Israel’s National Soccer team on Sunday. The former star midfielder for the French National Soccer team met with Avi Luzon the head of the IFA (Israel Football Association) and agreed to contact and salary terms. Fernandez will sign a one and a half year contract worth 488,000 Euros (approximately $660,000 USD).


Fernandez has prior experience coaching in Israel as the head coach of Beitar Jerusalem during the 2005-06 season, a factor which helped influence the decision of Israeli soccer officials when looking for a new head coach for the national team. The 50-year old’s low salary demands also helped him land the position.


At a press conference in Ramat Gan, Luzon told the press that Fernandez was the best choice out of all the candidates while Fernandez himself said he looks forward to returning to Israel. “I know Israeli football, the league and players. I see the improvement and progress here. I know it’s not a simple task but I know I will succeed.” Fernandez will steer the team through the Euro 2012 qualifiers.


ESPN reports that Israel was placed in Euro 2010 qualifying Group F along with Greece, Latvia, Croatia, Malta and Georgia. Fernandez will start his new position on May 1 where he will have until the end of the month to prepare the Israeli team for its first matches against Uruguay (May 26) and Chile (May 30).


Fernandez is no stranger to winning and hopes to achieve the same success he’s had as a player and as a coach. While playing for France, he won 60 caps and was part of the Euro 1984 championship squad. As a coach for Paris Saint-Germain in 1995, Fernandez won the Coupe De La Ligue as well as the exalted European Cup Winners Cup. He also led Athletic Bilbao from the Spanish La Liga to a momentous appearance in the Champions League.


The new coach said he will make a point to have an all-Israeli coaching staff to help him turn Israel’s national team into champions. To the delight of the IFA, Fernandez already possesses a vast knowledge of Israeli soccer stemming from his time with Beitar Jerusalem.  Unfortunately, he was a constant media target getting into numerous spats with Israeli journalists. Fernandez vowed to avoid the press and only engage them if necessary and focus on turning the team into a qualifier for the 2012 Euro Cup. IFA’s Luzon spoke on the matter saying, “He has no intention of talking to the press like he did at Beitar. He plans to dedicate time to the media in an organized fashion.”


Fernandez will return to Israel after the Passover holidays to find a place to live and get settled into his new position.


LuisvFernandez  replaces Dror  Kashtan who failed to guide Israel to this year’s world cup.

Related articles: (football, soccer, Israel football, Israel sports, world cup)

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