Here’s a rundown on what to expect from the 14 Ligat Winner Ha’Al teams this coming season!
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Head coach: Slavisa Jokanovic
Say hello: Tal Ben Haim, Avi Rikan, Eli Dasa, Shlomi Azulay.
Say goodbye: Rada Prica, Sheran Yeini, Mahran Radi
Outlook: Maccabi Tel Aviv is the three-peat Champion of the league and will be playing in Europe this coming season either in the Europa League or the Champions League, so an extended squad will be a necessity. Superstar Eran Zahavi is a constant threat on offense and has been a goal Adirondack machine over the past few years since coming to Maccabi from Palermo in Serie A. There will be other clubs including Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Beer Sheva that will be looking to take advantage of the extra matches the Yellow-and-Blue will need to play, but it will still be a challenge nonetheless.
Head Coach: Roni Levy
Stadium: Sammy Ofer
Say hello: Nikola Drincic, Marc Valiente, San Menachem
Say goodbye: Ruben Rayos, Weam Amasha, Idan Vered
Outlook: As owner Yakov Shachar said at the club’s opening press conference, the most important signing in the offseason was to bring in new/old coach Roni Levy. His addition will shore up the defensive play of the club and his no nonsense approach will be crucial in trying to take the Greens back to Europe.
Hapoel Beer Sheva
Head coach: Barak Bachar
Stadium: Turner Toto
Say hello: Ben Sahar, Shir Tzedek, Dudu Goresh, Mahran Radi
Say goodbye: Dovev Gabbay, Austine Igieda, Siraj Nasar
Outlook: Beer Sheva added a tremendous amount to its payroll in attempting to compete with both Maccabi Tel Aviv and Haifa and owner Alona Barkat made a coaching change in brining in Kiryat Shemona’s head man Barak Bachar for Elisha Levy. With the edition of Ben Sahar and Shir Tzedek, and a new stadium will that be enough to play with the big boys?
Maccabi Petach Tikva
Head coach: Ran Ben Shimon
Say hello: Muhamed Calibat, Panka Mindaugus, Xavier Thomas
Say goodbye: Marwan Kabha, Dedi Ben Dayan, Roie Dayan
Outlook: The Luzon family keeps churning out good footballers and puts a competitive team on the pitch. Coach RBS does his best with the tools he is given and always seems to overachieve with his group. He should be able to do the same this year.
Head coach: Salach Hasarma
Say hello: Roie Shukrqni, Or Ostanyd, Ido Exebar, Bruno Konia
Say goodbye: Shir Tzedek, Roie Kehat, Rodgers Kola
Outlook: The Northern most club seems to always be in the hunt and this year’s version will be no exception. Owner Izzy Shretazky has already picked up one title this year, the Champions Cup with new coach Hasarma and they have a nice advantage when they play at home on their bandbox of a stadium.
Head coach: Slobodan Drapic
Say hello: Dovev Gabbay, Nes Zamir, Ori Magbo, Pablo de Lukas
Say goodbye: Hanan Maman, Cesar Arzo, Ofir Kriaf, Eli Dasa, Shlomi Azulay
Outlook: Beitar had quite the offseason with chaos as per usual with the capital’s club. The Chareleroi performance on and off of the pitch was one for the ages and Owner Eli Tabib who says he’s out of Israeli football can never really let go as he knows exactly how to make as much money as possible. Tabib has reloaded the club for coach Drapic, however it will take time for these players to be able to reach their potential. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to Beitar.
Head coach: Tal Banin
Say hello: Hanan Maman, Tomer Suissa
Say goodbye: Hamdi Salahi, Or Ostanyd
Outlook: Tal Banin has now had time to get his team together after pulling off a Houdini and not being relegated last season. Owner Yoav Katz will always be an interesting Peary of teh club and they should perform decently well this year.
Head coach: Shlomi Dura
Say hello: Gael Margulies, Hamza Barry, Barak Levying
Say goodbye: Larry Kayode, Ariel Harush, Ron Roll
Outlook: Coach Dura did an amazing job with Akko last year keeping them up in the Ligat Ha’Al and he should be able to get the best out of his players in Netanya this coming year. The city of Netanya has taken control of the club and has given them a new lease on life. Watch out for Hamza Barry, he should be a terrific new players in the Israeli league.
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Head coach: Cesar Mendiondo
Say hello: Ariel Harush, Liviu Antal, Mihi Pintilli
Say goodbye: Lukas Sasha, Shai Abutbol, Israel Zaguri
Outlook: The Reds have undergone a massive shakeup in ownership, training staff and players. By bringing in a foreign training staff Hapoel is trying to copy the success of Maccabi Tel Aviv. However, time will tell if all the great work they are doing off the field will translate into results on it.
Head coach: Haim Silvas
Say hello: Elis Baki, Yival Shabtai
Say goodbye: Athiny Nwakaeme, Shoval Gozlan, Della Yampolski
Outlook: There’s no harder working coach than Silvas as he scours over every last detail and signed a gem of a player in Albanian Baki. The loss of Nwakaeme will be significant but if Raanana can get the results they need out of their charges they should keep their heads above water.
There’s a lot of turmoil with the ownership of the club and that of course never helps with performance on the field of play. They lost Muhamed Ghadir, Muhamed Calobat and Ismaeel Ryan so the question is, who’s going to score for this team? Weam Amasha and Shlomi Azulay are on the down are side of their careers and if they can’t replace some of the goals Sakhnin will be in deep trouble
Back in the Ligat Winner Ha’Al, the third Tel Aviv club will try and stay up and avoid relegation. With a terrific fan base, the club will look to revive itself and play a love their capabilities in order to surprise a few people and turn some heads.
Hapoel Kfar Saba
It’s been a while since Kfar Saba has been in the top division and it will take some hard work to stay there. LaHari Kehinde and Mavis Chibota will be the players who will need to help this club get results and it should be interesting to see if they can.
Dani Amos takes over in goal for Dudu Goresh and Yaron Hochenboim is the new coach replacing Shlomi Dura. With the smallest budget in the league Akko has their work cut out for them with tons of youngsters littering the lineup. A challenge ahead.