"I was missing two people at the moment of the gospel"
Starting as a coach in Ashdod ("I suffered"), Yossi Benyon ("I am not afraid of him and he is not afraid of me") and the transition from assistant coach to beloved coach to tough coach ("I will not change").
Alon Hazan in an open interview about the players he designed, the conflicts in the team and his good friends who were killed in their 30s and whom he misses very much
Sunday, May 15, 2022, 6 p.m.
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"I was on my way to a meeting in Tel Aviv that was not related to football," Alon Hazan begins to recreate one of the happiest days of his life.
"Yossi Benyon called and told me that Oren Hasson wanted to talk to me. Oren started a small talk and then he told me that he was very excited to tell me that Yossi Benyon decided to recommend me as the team coach and they all in the selection committee agreed immediately with the selection."
More on Walla!
Alon Hazan was introduced: "There will be rules in the team, the players will have to respect each other"
To the full article
"The moment of appointment was the most spontaneous in the world and it really moved me."
Alon Hazan (Photo: Berni Ardov)
"Within four months I lost my two best friends. They were both around the age of 30. At the moment of the news of the team's appointment, I made heartfelt contact with both of them and after a few days I went up to the cemetery and shared them."
Did not expect it?
"I really did not wait for a phone like that that day. It's not that anyone made me. It was the most spontaneous in the world and it really moved me. Even so I am a guy with a lot of emotions and it was a boom out of nowhere. It moved me because suddenly it gave me beyond the news flashback "Back to so many years ago. I stopped the car on the side because I had a hard time continuing to drive. Oren was also excited. I finished the conversation with Oren and started calling my wife, my children and my parents. Everyone shed tears. That's how I sat in the car for an hour."
"I went on to a meeting I had planned in Tel Aviv with the same person and did not share anything. Then at some point my phone started flashing because I was getting full of messages and calls. I realized the association was probably issuing an orderly message. No. I told him everything was fine. Then the flood of messages and phone calls continued and then he got a message and looked at me and his phone and asked if it was real. I said to him, 'What do you mean?'
So he told me that it was announced that I had been appointed coach of the Israeli national team, he was shocked and what surprised me especially was that this person who did not know me very well told me that he was excited for me.
"It was the beginning of a flood of messages and phone calls that day. Friends called me who were moved to tears and everyone got me excited again. Then I went to bed until 6pm. I got up and went as usual to my prayer of an afternoon and evening synagogue. I also received such fun love from innocent people. And so good.I went after that to see the game between Real and City in Manchester and saw all the expatriates only in replay because I just sat until 1 at night and returned messages to everyone who sent me.I did not want anyone to mistakenly think I will not return to him because suddenly I coach the team And I have changed. "
Who were you missing on that day of the gospel?
"Obviously I was missing two. First my brother-in-law, my wife's brother, who was my best friend and was killed 22 years ago in a work accident. It was a nightmarish time for me. And there was another friend who was killed right after that. We were three close and close friends and only I was left. I will not forget how the same friend and I traveled to Bnei Brak to choose a box for the Torah scroll written for my brother-in-law, and three weeks later this friend was also killed. Both my brother-in-law and the same friend were strong in religion. My two best friends. They were both around the age of 30. This was a period when I came to MS Ashdod and we started the season with 10 consecutive losses. Elisha Levy was the coach. "I buried them and shared them. They are buried not far from each other. They both had no children and no successors."
The death of both of them sure affected you and became part of who you are.
"Every day I think about them. Every morning I pray, I mention them in my prayer. There is no morning that I will not mention my brother-in-law Yaakov Azran and my other friend Sagi Gozlan. In many happy moments in life I wanted them to be by my side and this time I wanted it to be so."
"So I didn't know how to deal with a lot of things as a coach."
Alon Hazan as Ashdod coach in 2007 (Photo: Berni Ardov)
"My father Luzon told me I would take children and teenagers and give them things I could give them. I talked to Jackie, with whom I usually consult, and I said I would do it in a really different way. I believed that I, who came from the periphery, could really give something else."
You once told me in an interview that as a child you would go to school and imagine yourself standing in the Ramat Gan stadium and singing the anthem as a player of the senior Israeli national team.
Were there any thoughts about the day you will coach the national team?
"As a child I did not really think about coaching. Everyone who plays football as a child does not think for a moment about coaching. Even if he admires Guardiola, he will not think about coaching. In your dreams as a child you think about how you became an Israeli national footballer. When I was a child it was a fantasy "Of an Ashdod boy to be part of Israel's youth teams. But I would go to school a lot from home in the early 80's and always imagine that I was an adult player."
Where was the moment when you started thinking about coach Alon Hazan?
"Even when I was at the end of my career, I did not want to coach. A certain situation arose when Yossi Mizrahi left MS Ashdod in 2006 for Betar Jerusalem and I sat with Jackie Ben Zaken, who is a childhood friend of mine, and he suggested that I coach the team after Yossi.
I really like Jackie and he has influenced me a lot in life.
I jumped at it without knowing if I was ready.
The first season was better.
The second season is less good.
I was not prepared as a coach for that season.
I did not know how to deal with many things as a coach.
Although I was an actor and a leader, coaching is a completely different world.
I felt I was not enjoying what I was doing.
I told Jackie I did not enjoy it. "
I remember suffering.
"True, I suffered. I felt I did not want to get up for MS Ashdod training. Jackie continued to hold me even when the situation was very bad. I was not afraid of going down in the league and yet I told him I would rather have someone else save the team. "I felt very great relief. Suddenly I felt the air flowing better in my body. After a few days I had an offer to coach a national team with the aim of going up in the league and I refused. .
So how did you get back to being an artist?
"My father Luzon who was the chairman of the Football Association approached me and told me I should do things from below in a slightly different way. He told me I would take children and teenagers and give them things I could give them. I talked to Jackie, with whom I usually consult, and I said I would do it "In a really different way. I believed that I, who came from the periphery, could really give something different. I decided to go for it with young ages and from there the whole dangling. I never felt inferior to the coach of boys B."
Jackie continued to hold me even when the situation was very bad. "Alon Hazan with Jackie Ben Zaken (Photo: Nir Khoury)
"I do not think that if I were an assistant coach on the national team, now I would have to keep my distance. I do not come to get self-respect. I come to the position because I think it is possible to make a difference."
Give me three players you touched on from a young age.
"I do not want to hurt others, but you know what? I will Azrum and I will name three. The first is Dan Glazer. I felt I had a connection with him beyond football. I should be. I am so happy for him and for what he has done in his career. "He always kept in touch. He consulted and contacted me. There were many others with whom I had an excellent connection."
You gave three that each is different from the other.
"Sure. Everyone came with a different package of life for the young teams. In all three I saw education, a way of life and a desire to learn and progress. Everyone came from a different background, but everyone understood they had a gift in hand. I hope I helped them go further."
Players on the team told me that your test will be in the transition from a very popular assistant coach on the team to the head coach who needs to set boundaries and be much tougher.
You need to change in the new role.
"I do not think I need to make a change in who I am. Being an assistant coach does not necessarily guarantee you good treatment from the players. People will appreciate you if you bring values. If they see that you are loyal to the coach you work under. Will make the player appreciate you more. A role does not change the person. I am the same person and I will be the same person. I am also not a person who advocates discipline and iron rules, but respect. A fine is not a solution for me. A player who understands he made a mistake and respects the place The fine.Rules are definitely important.But throughout my years as a youth team coach I do not know if I have punished anyone.
"I'm not a coach who runs to hug the players who score. For me, the picture of the young team's campaign is the bench players who wanted the field to be happy when in the 92nd minute we scored a goal against Latvia. They were the first to want to hug Ido Shahar .
"He always kept in touch. Consulted and contacted me."
Alon Hazan with Eden Kartzev (Photo: Berni Ardov)
"I love the country on a crazy level. I hear the hope and cry. I feel mission and pride. But I feel that everyone who puts on the Israeli national team shirt, represents the country in which he lives."
I know you're dead on the state.
That you love Judaism and Zionism.
How much was missing from that for a team under Andy Herzog and Willy Rotensteiner?
"To Andy Willy's it should be said that not only football interested them. They both always wanted to know and feel the country to give the connection between the team and Israeliness. I as an Israeli living in this country with everyone brings myself. Our Israeliness has all kinds of small nuances and I never looked Religions.You can have the biggest dome and the most beautiful keffiyeh and it will not make you better.You have to be human no matter what religion.You will love people regardless of their origin.I love the country on a crazy level.I hear the hope and cry. I feel mission and pride. But I feel that everyone who puts on a shirt of the Israeli team, represents the country in which he lives. There are many bad things in the country, but there is also a good generation in the country and I do not want to fall into the stereotypes of everything shit or everything rotten. "To be attentive to everyone. Not everyone has the right to do something that represents their country. I see a great privilege in being on the national team."
You said that even today you are in tears in the anthem.
How did you react to Eyal Berkowitz's remarks about Beavers Natcho who said he could not be the team captain because he did not sing the anthem?
"If Eyal thinks something, it's his right. I do not have to agree. I care about the person in front of me. I look at Beavers who did not sing the anthem, but he is such a beloved person. Beavers Natcho is one of the best people I have known in my life. A person with Values that can scatter his goodness around. If there were more people like Beavers in the world, the world would be better. Beavers always said he felt proud to represent the country. "He knows how to see the other beautiful side of someone who is really excited to be captain of the Israeli national team. He feels proud and he knows what he stands for."
Will he launch the next campaign with you?
"We have not yet sat on the roster for next month. In general I think Beavers as a unifying figure can still have someone on the team that everyone can draw only good from."
"Beavers Natcho is one of the best people I have ever known" (Photo: Berni Ardov)
"One of the things that can cause stress is if someone is afraid of someone. I am not afraid of Yossi and Yossi is not afraid of me. I very much appreciate having Yossi by my side. It is important to appreciate professionals who can help you."
Eran Zehavi will be part of the staff even if at the moment you do not want to reveal what the staff will be.
What do you say about the statement that this team belongs to Eran Zehavi?
As long as Zahavi is on the Israeli team, this is his team.
"Eran Zehavi gives a lot to the Israeli team, but the team does not put itself around one player. Eran Zehavi should not be a challenge to others, but should enjoy it because those who do not surround Eran in the team, miss many things. Eran is dominant first in training. The young man. You have to see the investment, the professionalism. At first they said that God's hand is on him, but even if the hand up is blessed, he works in a way that players look at and say it did not just come from luck or immediately God. Eran Zehavi is a character "There are things he says passionately and are interpreted a little differently, but one should not focus on every statement that is made but enjoy the asset that is. Others should contribute no less to the team so that the whole team gets to places we have not been to for many years."
Will the selection of the staff be yours and Yossi Benyon's together?
"Absolutely. I'll tell you something about Yossi. You can say that Yossi is strong or a cantor questionnaire is strong, and what will happen between them. The years are refining you. One of the things I learned in my life is that where there is ego, nothing grows. I was with Yossi Maybe emotional, but he's one of the most innocent and loyal people born in our football. One of the things that can cause stress is if someone is afraid of someone. I'm not afraid of Yossi and Yossi is not afraid of me. I really appreciate having Yossi by my side. "From the first moment we sat down, I feel that we have mutual faith. There is a professional here who has been through a lot in Europe, seen things and it is very important to have such a person by my side. Yossi and I will do everything in cooperation in the best possible way."
As for the staff it will be easier, but regarding the 11 can there be disagreements between you?
"I do not want people around me who will think only like me. I do not need people like that. I need people with an opinion who can think differently from me and they will enlighten my eyes. I do not live with the feeling that I know everything and everything I know is right. In the young teams players felt comfortable coming And talk to me about professional things and the team benefited from it. Yossi does not interfere in the teams. He can ask, express an opinion, but will let me decide. Yossi will surely let me think about things I do not think about. Opinions out of the box. When I have one like Yossi, what do I have to fear? ".
"I feel we have mutual faith."
Alon Hazan with Yossi Benyon (Photo: Yossi Tzipkis)
"I will never disappoint my players. I will never make them feel that I have violated their trust. Even if I do something by mistake, I will apologize without fear."
Do you have any new ideas for dealing with stationary balls, other than Miguel Vitor?
"Stationary situations have never been a function of height. Throughout most of my career the low ones have actually won the most stationary balls."
I as a journalist want things to come out of the team, but the most important parameter for a player on the team is the discretion and the fact that when he talks to you, he will know that things will never come out.
"For my part not to speak or be interviewed in the media. I want my players to be honest and decent. How will I get it from my players, if I am not like that? I will never disappoint my players. I will never make them feel I have violated their trust. Even if I do something "Inadvertently, I will apologize without fear. There will be no situation where my player will talk to me and find things between us in the media."
Finally, what gives us optimism this time?
"The fact that I believe in the Israeli footballer, I believe in young veterans, I believe in bringing more things to change. I do not look to the past, but only to the future. We will work hard, but nothing will change if we do not believe we can change it."
Israeli national teams
Israel national football team