Text size

Dror Kashtan's return to Hapoel Tel Aviv is all but sealed, sources at the club said yesterday. Following Israel assistant coach Moshe Sinai's official announcement yesterday that he would not take the job, the sources at Hapoel revealed that negotiations with Kashtan had begun a few days ago.

If negotiations with Kashtan fall through, the club will turn to former Maccabi Haifa and Panathinaikos coach Itzhak Shum.

Kashtan, Israel's most successful coach ever, led Hapoel to the league and cup double in his first season in charge of the club in 1999, and then masterminded a series of giant-killing performances against Chelsea, Lokomotiv Moscow and Parma as Hapoel reached the UEFA Cup quarterfinals in 2002. He left Tel Aviv at the end of the 2003/4 season after it managed only fifth place and failed to gain a spot in European competition and he refused to take a pay cut.

Kashtan joined Hapoel Petah Tikva earlier this season after the resignation of Freddy David and won the Toto Cup with the club. He quit the club earlier this week saying he was unhappy with affairs there after the resignation of chairman Meir Shamir.

With its new owners in place after concluding a deal Wednesday night, Hapoel has begun its rebuilding for next season. In addition to its attempts to bring back former players Pini Balili, Omri Afek, Kfir Udi and Salim Tuameh, the club has already approached several leading players from other teams.

Meanwhile, Hapoel Petah Tikva yesterday accused Kashtan of acting in bad faith, saying that he had submitted his plans for next season earlier this week, knowing full well that he could get the Hapoel Tel Aviv job and was about to quit.