On the Offensive / Waiting for Egypt to Reach Hapoel

The heartbreakers of Hapoel Tel Aviv are going through some difficult days. These are moments that could cause the soccer team to collapse or at least put a huge question mark as to its ability to realize its full potential. The uncertainty gripping Hapoel is a fatal factor influencing every parameter of the team. The cardiac event suffered by head coach Eli Guttman is unconnected to this situation, though several officials at Hapoel Tel Aviv are lacking a pulse.

The chance that Guttman and Abuksis will succeed in keeping the players' thoughts away from the unknown is virtually nil. They can't even make themselves content. The policy of mutual assured destruction between owners Moni Harel and Eli Tabib will bear fruit sooner or later. Neither of them really loves or is interested enough in the club. They are a pair of opportunists who are out to reap the benefits without contributing. They'll continue to pay lip service about leaving without doing so.

Why? Because Hapoel Tel Aviv is such a good soccer team that even the administrative catastrophe which has gripped it won't necessarily prevent it from winning another championship or even advancing to the Champions League again. And that means at least an additional NIS 50 million added to the value of the club. Anyone who leaves before that happens is a sucker.

Hapoel Tel Aviv has transformed over the past two months from a self-confident champion to a team in danger of falling apart. Douglas Da Silva is the only one who has departed so far, but just about every one on the team is now doing his best to find an alternative home.

Coach Guttman is being wooed by Red Bull Salzburg and the Israel Football Association. Itay Shechter will turn a cold shoulder once he recovers from injury. Ben Sahar is determined that he belongs in Europe. Eran Zehavi is looking for more excitement. Gil Vermouth won't stay without a winning crew. Vincent Enyeama will have a ticket to ride any moment. Danny Bondar dreams of Russia.

The club that was supposed to be a magnet drawing in every possible player here is making even a place like Egypt seem like an oasis of calm.

These days are days in which hedonists are being overthrown, or at least rediscovering the limits of their power - right here in the Middle East. Tabib will be forced to return sooner or later from his political asylum in the U.S. Moni Harel is in the neighborhood.