Now it is official: Nir Davidovich will wear the goalkeeper’s gloves for the last time in a professional soccer match when Maccabi Haifa ends its Premier League season against Hapoel Tel Aviv on May 18. Haifa’s medical staff recently approved Davidovich’s participation in the season finale, in which he is expected to come off the bench and replace Bojan Saranov for a few minutes.
Two months ago, Davidovich received the news that in order to return to regular activity he would have to undergo surgery to fuse a break in his hand. He has been suffering from the injury since the beginning of the season. However, he rejected the option and decided instead to retire.
“I really want to play against Hapoel Tel Aviv, and it turns out that it will happen,” an emotional Davidovich told Kolbo Sport, a local Haifa paper. “Every person reaches his day of retirement, and that’s how it will be with me. My greatest excitement will be when I go onto the pitch for Maccabi Haifa fans for the last time. It will be a really special moment.” Davidovich is set to serve as a goalkeeping coach in Maccabi Haifa’s youth division next season. In addition, he is likely to be brought on board the men’s coaching staff alongside Giora Entemen, who will return from Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Davidovich, 37, went through the ranks of Maccabi Haifa’s youth division and joined the men’s team in 1995. He appeared in 384 games in a Maccabi Haifa uniform and has 51 caps with the Israel national team.
The club plans to show a highlight film of the goalkeeper’s greatest moments on the team and on the national squad during his swan song. The Israel Football Association is also planning a farewell ceremony for Davidovich.