Hapoel Tel Aviv's Bandages Can't Cover Up the Chaos

The club's management can't hide what's behind the 'everything's under control' facade: a team with no strategy.

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It's only taken six months to pulverize the club. Hapoel Tel Aviv is torn, its roster covered in bandages that try to convey the impression of a team. But there is no team – and the bandages are covering up utter chaos.

On the flip side, the club's fans have been happy for these six months because they are setting the tone this season. Their voices are being heard. Last year’s protest undoubtedly succeeded, and in its wake the fans have entered a new era, of being a free community. And look how great it is to be a beautiful free community. No one at Hapoel is in charge of what goes on there nowadays. Things simply happen.

We can reminisce about last summer’s upbeat press conference with Moshe Teumim and Haim Ramon, who head the group that bought the club. But summer is far gone and Monday night the bandages covering up the cracks peeled off. One bandage played right defender, another played left defender and yet another played central defender – the result of brilliant management and many emotional landings at Ben-Gurion International Airport. There's Spanish defender David Rochela and Portuguese defender Tiago Costa. Hand on heart – who knew they are Hapoel players? And what do you know – they also brought over Shimon Harush and Nir Nachum. And after that they got Almog Cohen from Bundesliga side FC Numerberg for an overblown price.

That’s how it is in the free-community era when the fans set the tone. Because, as it is customary to say: Their voices should be heard. And as it’s also customary to say, the community’s agenda must not be overlooked. Now nobody can destroy the team for Hapoel Tel Aviv fans: They’ve destroyed it themselves.

It’s a shame it took so long to get rid of former owner Eli Tabib – the team could have profited from such brilliant management a long time ago. For example, here’s another spark of genius: Head Coach Yossi Abukasis, who was called to action at the beginning of the season. His facade, his “everything’s under control” pose, barely conceals the fact that for a few months now the team’s strategy has been based on high balls to strikers Omer Damari and Tal Ben Haim. That’s all Hapoel Tel Aviv has to offer once the bandages are removed: The hope that rests solely on Damari and Ben Haim’s talent along with an apparent facade on the sidelines.

Ahh – and there’s also that petulant forward Toto Tamuz, whom nobody expected would open the season with Hapoel and surely no one expected would still be there after the January transfer widow. But Tamuz, contrary to any conventional wisdom about management, is still there into February. Abukasis, on the other hand, may not continue for another season, contrary to what was believed only a few months ago.

What's there to say? This management has sharpened senses, is organized and responsible. After all, we're in an era in which the people at Hapoel Tel Aviv know what they are doing.

Hapoel Tel Aviv's David Rochela, right, hasn't helped the team out of its slump.Credit: Seffi Magriso