It is not certain that Hapoel Tel Aviv fans fantasized about a coach with a resume like that of Michael Valkanis, but reality sometimes proves otherwise, and the Greek-Australian will be the one who will stand on the Reds' lines in the coming season.
Valkanis' experience as a head coach in senior teams amounts to just 25 games for Australian teams Melbourne City and Adelaide United, plus 8 games for the Belgians, where he was an assistant coach and was promoted to interim coach because the permanent coach contracted COVID-<>.
He was also a former assistant coach of the Greek national team. His resume may not be the most impressive, but that may not necessarily indicate whether he will succeed at Khodorov or not. For example - Oscar García arrived at Maccabi Tel Aviv with no experience in a senior team and managed to win the championship with the Yellows, but the differences in budgets between the two clubs are of course huge.
Michael Valcanis. A new era in Khodorov, photo: Facebook
The club says Valcanis' appointment is the net of professional consultant Nick Hammond, who has prior acquaintance with the coach. "Hammond wanted a coach he knew and could trust with his eyes closed," they said, "and Lakanis really wanted to come here because it's working together with Nick, who has a reputation in the world. It's a springboard for him for the future." Hammond was not satisfied with his acquaintance with Valcanis and approached several professionals who recommended the coach and it was finally decided to sign him.
The economic consideration was decisive
But why didn't Hapoel choose a coach with a more impressive resume, such as Neil Lennon, who was one of the team's candidates and even worked under Nick Hammond? Well, apart from the fact that it's hard to convince coaches of this size to come work for a team in Israel that doesn't play in Europe, the economic consideration played a significant role here. A foreign coach of his stature wants a salary of hundreds of thousands of euros a month - sums that the Reds cannot pay, and perhaps bring with him a wide team of people (which means a few more salaries, more rent payments, in short a lot of expenses).
Another equally important reason for Valcanis' appointment is the fact that he specializes in promoting young players, has worked for the past two years at the Aspire Academy in Qatar, and the club is very keen to promote their young players in the upcoming season - some of whom are currently starring in the World Cup. By the way, Valcanis' contract includes several financial bonus clauses and one of them is for winning the cup
Coach Michael Valkanis has signed a multi-year contract with the club and will guide the team through the 23/24 ✍🏼
season and Greek-Australian
Valkanis (48) has ended his role at Qatar's Asphire Acadamy, renowned for youth development. He has previously been on the sidelines at Australian Melbourne City and Adelaide United. Also, served... pic.twitter.com/1rUnacz0Gm
— HapoelTelAviv (@HapoelTelAvivFC) June 4, 2023
As far as the fans are concerned, you can see that there are those who fear a scenario of "a fall like with Cesar Mendiono", but the majority back the new owners, the Mainzberg brothers, and believe that: "We need to see what squad they will build and give it time." Valcanis' first game will be next month in Bloomfield, in an exhibition game against Leganés.
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"I am excited about the opportunity given to me to be the coach of Hapoel Tel Aviv, to manage one of the most successful clubs in Israel with such a glorious history," Valkanis said in the official statement after the signing. I promise that my team and I will give everything to help the players be the best version of themselves. Through hard work and together, we will create special moments and return the club to its rightful place."
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