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CHAMPIONS! Maccabi Tel Aviv take Israeli League Ligat Ha’Al

Will coach Pako Ayestaran be staying put?

Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-1 Kiryat Shemona

Maccabi Tel Aviv has done it, yes they have finally won the Israel league championship after a long sometimes stressful and unfulfilling season of matches. Coach Pako Ayestaran had a plan and stuck to that plan for better or for worse as Maccabi wrapped up their 3rd title in a row.

Finishing first gives them the opportunity to now enter the UEFA Champions League 3rd round qualifying in the middle of July. It also affords Maccabi time to begin preparations on doing what they couldn’t do last year; find their way into Europe. Without European competition this past year and only the domestic league plus cup tournaments, there was something seriously lacking for Maccabi and that is perhaps why this title was so ho-him.

Sure it’s a great accomplishment to win 3 straight and the players along with management should be proud and happy with the results, but it’s the matches that begin in July that will really count for the 2015-16 year.

What would another year without Europe look like for Maccabi? Not too good with all due respect. That’s the ultimate goal of technical director Jordi Cryuff to take Maccabi to the next level and beyond.

Pako Ayestaran - Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv website

Pako Ayestaran – Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv website

The question though remains is Pako Ayestaran the right man to steer the good ship Yellow and Blue? That’s the question we’ve all been asking since his arrival back in August. It’s clear that Cryuff does not have faith in the former Liverpool and Valencia man. He just doesn’t think that Pako has the tools to take the team into the group stages of the most lucrative tourney in the world.

After the match Maccabi owner Mitch Goldhar was talking to Pako and whispering something into his ear. Perhaps he said just win the Israel State Cip on Wednesday and all will be ok. Or he said, congratulations, thanks for taking us to the Champions League qualifiers and good luck in your future endeavors. It was nice to know you until we meet again.

Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv website

Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv website

Only the two of them know what was said and where the relationship is going. But it was clear that Pako will not stay here in Israel and at Maccabi Tel Aviv should he not believe in the project set forward by management. The way Pako was talking was already as if his fate had been sealed. Which book we still don’t know but one would believe that the final outcome will be known after the Israel State Cup final which takes place in Wednesday night at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa.

Either way Pako stressed that he set out what he wanted to accomplish and that he didn’t want to look forward to the upcoming year. When questioned about the preparation for the Champions League Pako was straight and to the point that the Champions League should be attached to the upcoming year not to this also one as players will change on the roster and it will be a new project.

One which we don’t yet know if Pako Ayestram will be in charge of or not. When asked if he agrees with the project all he wanted to talk about was the State Cup. That may be exactly all we needed to know.

Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv

Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv

Game Notes:

Yuval Shpungin played a significant amount of time for Maccabi as the injury bug forced the former Israel Natiinal Team into duty after not having played a minute in league matches this year. With Eitan Tibi injuring himself during the match Spingin played his first league match since May 15, 2015 when he played 15 minutes against Ashdod. Maccabi target and former property Roi Kehat opened the scoring shocking the home side but Rada Prica evened the match up with a header in minute 45. The second half was dominated by Maccabi as rarely used midfielder Mahran Radi scored the Championship clincher and celebrated with his son!