Maccabi Haifa Appoint Balbul as Coach After Stanojevic Quits

Balbul, Avram Grant's former assistant, will begin working at the club on Monday.

Ze'ev Stern

REUTERS - Faltering Israeli club Maccabi Haifa appointed former defender Marco Balbul as their new coach on Sunday following the resignation of Serbian Aleksandar Stanojevic.

Balbul, who had a long stint as assistant to Avram Grant at Haifa, will begin working at the club on Monday, Maccabi Haifa said on their website.

Stanojevic quit earlier on Sunday, a day after a humiliating 3-1 home defeat to Beitar Jerusalem. He joined Haifa before the start of the season but could not prevent them from losing eight of their 15 league fixtures.

"I'm sorry for having reached this point but I think it is the necessary step for the club, which is important to me," Stanojevic said.

Haifa are fourth in the standings, with 19 points from 15 matches, 14 points behind Maccabi Tel Aviv who lead with 33 points.

One of Israel's most successful clubs over the past three decades, Haifa moved into a plush new stadium in the northern port city for the start of the current season and have attracted record gates of some 30,000 for each of their recent home games.