Beitar Jerusalem is taking the Toto Cup seriously explained both Head Coach Roni Levy and keeper Itzmar Nitzan following the yellow-and-black’s 1-1 draw against SC Ashdod. In fact, Beitar has been taking everything about the upcoming 2019/20 campaign with the highest regard; not just on the pitch but off of it as well.
There is an air of professionalism throughout the club from the top to the bottom and that is all thanks to owner Moshe Hogeg who took over the reigns last season. From the player’s dress when they leave the stadium following a game, making sure to wear one of their sponsor’s shirts to the facilities by the dressing rooms, to the GPS the players are wearing, Beitar is a changed club and the owner deserves all of the credit in the world.
However, it’s not just the players that have been effected but it’s the entire culture including Hogeg’s no nonsense stand against racism that has run rampant throughout the fan groups over the past decade; he has stated unequivocally that there will be no such tolerance for this type of behavior. The high-tech start-up guru has taken his business world approach to the soccer field and that’s a good thing.
Hogeg founded Mobli a social mobile and photo and video sharing website back in 2009 and today is the CEO of Sirin Labs. With his business acumen there is no question that Beitar is in not only good hands but hands that understand the way of the world as we enter the year 2020.
Yossi Benayoun was brought on to serve as Beitar Jerusalem’s Sports Director after retiring from active play last season. The “Diamond from Dimona” has years of experience at the highest levels from Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal to Maccabi Tel Aviv where he also observed Jordi Cruyff change the culture of a club with the help of owner Mitch Goldhar. Benayoun knows exactly what needs to be done to bring Beitar up to speed and compete with the top clubs not only in Israel but Europe as well.
Head Coach Roni Levy returned to Israel after a spell in Cyprus for the third time in his career, but this time around, it’s a whole new ballgame when he has the likes of Hogeg, Benayoun as well as Eli Ohana one of the club’s former stars and coaches who now serves as the President. Levy has the backing and the tools to take Beitar back to its glory days.
Moni Barush was appointed CEO when Hogeg completed the purchase of the club and comes to the soccer world after many years of television and media experience most recently at Channel 20. As well a new press officer was also named as Assaf Nachum who had been with Maariv Online was handed the post as Oshri Dudai who had been in the role for a number of years was promoted to become the club’s full time manager.
It’s clear that Hogeg is laying the foundation for Beitar to reach the success that he has already seen in the high-tech world, but that also means he will want to see results on the pitch and that’s why the Toto Cup is such an important competition for Beitar.
The Toto Cup is historically looked at by many clubs as an unimportant tournament that helps get the players in shape while the coaching staff can test players and formations to see what they will use over the course of the upcoming league season. But Maccabi Tel Aviv changed the attitude of its importance as the yellow-and-blue management has always said that they are looking to win each and every title available to the club over the course of the season. Beitar has now bought into that same attitude, a winning one and one that will go a long way as the club’s culture continues to change.
Levy explained that the Toto Cup is certainly crucial to the team’s preseason preparation but it also sets the tone for the upcoming campaign. For example, Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv and then made 6 changes to the starting lineup that featured against Ashdod just a few nights later. The reason is fairly simple as to why so many different players were used, there are plenty of new faces and Levy must see how the puzzle will look as he goes into the season. However, he also spoke about respect he has for the competition itself as they punched their ticket to the semifinals.
Nitzan also talked about how winning the title would give them a boost towards the season to come. With Hapoel Beer Sheva looming as not only Beitar’s opening league game but their semifinal opponent in the Toto Cup as well, the keeper was asked which game he would prefer to win; to which he said, “I prefer to win every match.” With that attitude Jerusalem will go a long, long way.