On the Offensive / Beitar Needs a Professional Coach

Beitar players desperately need a professional and not a third-rate coach whose specialization is in body language and rhetoric.

There are some things you just cannot hide. For example, the fact that Beitar Jerusalem is being run by a coach who cannot fill the shoes of his predecessors by several sizes.

That's the way it is, without the need for dropping hints, making comments or spin. Coach Yuval Naim's main talent - motivating his players - ran its course long ago. Beitar players desperately need a professional and not a third-rate coach whose specialization is in body language and rhetoric.

Ilan Assayag

They need someone who can catch opponents off guard with his personnel, field a smart lineup, improve team quality with the right staffing. They need someone to calm things down and send out a message that there is someone to rely on. Beitar players look at the bench, listen in the locker room to the coach as he rambles on, and know that it's a lost cause.

Assuming Itzik Kornfein, the chairman, is the one at Beitar who makes the decisions and not just the one who makes the highest salary in the league for an administrative position, the time has come to ask him: How much longer will this go on?

What else has to happen for Beitar to get on the sidelines a fair chance to save itself from almost certain relegation to the second-tier National League? Do you think the locker room still believes in Naim, and are you having a hard time convincing his patrons that the time has come to part as friends, at least professionally?

Naim and Beitar were not impressive during its most recent winning streak, which relied on luck. They will not survive if they count on opponents collapsing in the race to stay in the Premier League. Maccabi Petah Tikva, Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Hapoel Haifa and Rishon Letzion changed coaches because their owners refused to say that all was lost.

Before Saturday's match against archrival Bnei Sakhnin, Naim told his players that the game was "very important to the fans." Could the chairman possibly still be sure that everything is fine, even after being blanked 3-0 in that "very important" game?

Chairman backs coach for now, as fans get punished

Beitar Jerusalem chairman Itzik Kornfein and club coach Yuval Naim met yesterday to discuss the team's next steps, a day after its crushing 3-0 home defeat to Bnei Sakhnin. Naim reportedly still has Kornfein's backing, at least until Beitar's State Cup match against Bnei Lod tomorrow. Meanwhile, efforts are being made to curb fan violence. Yesterday, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court issued restraining orders against 11 fans, including six from Sakhnin, who rioted during the Beitar-Sakhnin match. In addition, five Beitar fans who were arrested before the game based on information the team provided police were banned from visiting soccer stadiums for 90 days. (Moshe Boker )