On the Offensive / Why the Wait?

We became so adjusted to the fiasco known as "Avi Nimni, Maccabi Tel Aviv manager" to the point that when the obvious was finally done, its logic was perceived as an earthquake.

The Internet sites and news flashes used the classic opening: "Earthquake at Maccabi Tel Aviv." And then, after that pause that gives a sense of a fateful moment, something coming out of the blue, the dawn of a new day, a moment everyone will forever remember where they were and what they were doing when the bomb dropped, follows the so sensible and overdue announcement: "Avi Nimni was fired."

That's it. That's all. Try to explain to them that the earthquake was going on every second Nimni remained in his job. What job? That of God or something similar. That's the incomprehensible part. It's absurd, a divine comedy if you like. We became so adjusted to the fiasco known as "Avi Nimni, Maccabi Tel Aviv manager" to the point that when the obvious was finally done, its logic was perceived as an earthquake.

And yet for the masses from whom Maccabi Tel Aviv was taken away by Avi Nimni and his men, as well as for Nimni and his troops, there was something incomprehensible about this moment. You know what, call it an earthquake - hysteria, folks! For the first time in human history, a king was fired from his job.

Sometimes it seemed like Nimni was more clever than the rest of us, the one who always had the last laugh. In most cases, at least until yesterday, things went his way. Every time there was a hint that his standing was undermined and his power weakened, he came back stronger. He would add another layer of teflon, eradicate another nest of resistance and charm the new owner. It almost worked this time, too, and maybe even now we haven't heard the end of him.

Still a sucker

With all due respect to owner Mitch Goldhar for his brave decision, don't forget that this is the sucker who paid over NIS 120 million for the pleasure of firing Nimni. Don't buy the stories about the Canadian's sophistication or a brilliant move by Aviv Bushinsky, the celebrated chess player. Nimni's cronies are already pointing an accusing finger at Bushinsky as the one who concocted the secret plan for ousting him, but it's only because the man who was fired never could take responsibility. He jabbered more than once about the subject, but never really meant it.

In the summer he received an incredible amount of money to build a solid soccer team. They dropped tales of championships and playing in Europe, and went back to basics. It would be a solid, functioning, sensible team - a minimum requirement from a maximal payroll.

What Nimni managed to do with his own hands was disgraceful. The team he built was a joke, his choices didn't make sense. The guy who brings such pretentious players like Avi Strool, Klemi Saban, Yoav Ziv, Dimitar Rangelov, Djibril Sidibe and the other legitimate candidates for the country's second-tier league deserves to be a candidate to coach a summer camp for Ahi Nazareth. And my apologies if anyone there is insulted.

Later on, his revolutionary training method started being revealed. Rinus Michels brought the world "Total Football," Argentine trainer Helenio Herrera begat the catenaccio tactical system of defense and Nimni is the father of the capriciousness method. Today I feel like it, tomorrow I don't. That's the way he assembled a starting 11 that included Eliran Atar, Maor Buzaglo, Dor Malul, Roberto Colautti, Haris Medunjanin and the rest of his victims. And maybe it was actually a nihilistic system. Go figure.