Soccer / Premier League

Roni Levy Back at Beitar Helm

Beitar Jerusalem’s coach in 2010-11 season returns to post three days after Eli Cohen gets axe.

Beitar Jerusalem brought back Roni Levy to coach its men’s soccer team, three days after firing Eli Cohen.

Levy coached the team briefly during the 2010-2011 season, replacing Uri Malmilian, before signing with Steaua Bucharest in June 2011. Beitar, languishing in 11th place, hosted defending champion Maccabi Tel Aviv last night. Assistant coach David Amsalem, serving as interim manager, ran the show last night.

The old-new coach was not the struggling club’s first choice. First, Amsalem, who took over from Levy in the summer of 2011 before returning to the assistant position, was offered either to coach alone or together with Eyal Lahman. He rejected both options, however, paving the way for the offer to Levy.

Beitar owner Eli Tabib met with Levy on Friday, and the two agreed to a contract through the end of the season. Both sides have an option for a one-year extension.

The coach has already received the green light to make changes in the player roster during the upcoming transfer window.

Team observers expect Levy to make at least three changes among the team’s foreign players and to add two Israelis. Although Levy finished his first stint with Beitar under unpleasant circumstances, the fans who had chased out Cohen actually greeted the announcement with enthusiasm.

“It’s a great challenge,” said Levy. “I have a good connection with the fans. I am coming to work hard.”

Nir Keidar