Outside the lines, 6.6 (Walla system!)
February 2020, Hapoel Kfar Saba. Owner Yitzhak Shum has complaints about Ofir Haim's method of play and demands that the coach play more offensively. A meeting was scheduled, attended by Yitzhak Shum, his son Idan, Ofir Haim, his assistant Ravid Gezel and the CEO. The team was then struggling at the bottom with a four-point advantage over Hapoel Ra'anana, one of its rivals at the bottom, with the two expected to meet in the upcoming game.
At the meeting, Yitzhak Shum implores Ofir Haim: "I can't see this football, against Ra'anana I want something completely different, I want a high, offensive game, I'm not willing to see anything else." Haim replies: "We can't play too high, we have two slow brakes, it's suicide, fresh anyway so we can't move the ball and the pressure on them, waiting for them will be super offensive in transitions."
Shum didn't like Chaim insisting and a loud argument began. One of those present in the room said that the discourse deteriorated to a very low level, until Ofir Haim broke down and said, "I respect your opinion, but I will only do what I understand professionally," and Shum got angry and replied, "This way you won't continue here, you'll understand on your own where it's going."
Most Premier League teams are clear where things are going. Garlic and life (Photo: Danny Maron)
When Ofir Haim left the room, but could still hear the discourse, Shum made it clear to those present that as far as he was concerned, if Haim decided not to change his concept, he ended his job and urged them to find a new coach as soon as possible: "If possible I want to tomorrow, it won't continue like this," Shum clarified to those present. Haim went home, the team agreed with Amir Turgeman and the coach received the news that he had finished his job.
And why are we telling you this? Because Ofir Haim's entry into consciousness through the youth team made everyone curious what would happen if he accepted a team for a healthy process in the league as well. So, that's it, in our league there aren't too many teams in healthy processes, 2-3 games is usually a process and a measure of status and the pressure around doesn't allow for more than that.
If we started from Kfar Saba, let's move on to a slightly bigger club, Hapoel Tel Aviv. November 21, Ofir Haim is appointed coach of Hapoel Tel Aviv, with owner Sharon Nisanov saying: "We want him for years, Ofir Haim is Israel's future coach." The two-time coach and future coach held 40 days in red. He actually brought about a positive change in Hapoel Tel Aviv, but his way did not suit the owners. Why? He was too positive, he constantly tried to connect with the players, the emotion, the difficulty, he worked a lot on the psychologist and Itzik Nisanov said in closed conversations: "It's not suitable for Hapoel Tel Aviv, here you need someone that the players fear and fear, otherwise they don't function."
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Nisanov crowned him "Israel's future coach", he was fired after 40 days (Photo: Avi Cohen)
This is exactly the story of Ofir Haim. He saw a process, tried to get close to the players, try to understand what was interfering, went down to the smallest resolutions and received criticism for them within the club. The team had a problem scoring goals, so he did training for the front in front of small goals or drills in front of goal to give confidence and the gossip in the club was "this is not the football school with goal kicks from a meter, we have to work much better".
Haim worked, but behind the scenes he became Little Red Riding Hood, because that's Israeli football. He was sure that he was at Hapoel Tel Aviv for a long time, that he was remembered for what he did with the club's youth team and that they believed in him as the man who would lead the club in the coming years. He had previously left Afula happy, and ended up after 40 days at Hapoel Tel Aviv shattered.
As a reporter for Hapoel Tel Aviv, I called Chaim a few days after the dismissal, he was really crying, he was crushed: "Respect me, I can't speak, I can't do anything, what they did to me didn't do to me in my life, I need the time to digest and recover from this."
And it took him a while. For a few months he was crushed, stopped watching football, even considered quitting the profession and going for something else, but the whole story of his life and his family gave him the strength to get out of this crisis, and he decided that he was fighting. When he agreed to be interviewed, he said: "I'm still crushed, but I also know I'm good at what I do and can succeed and go far, but from now on I'll make my decisions differently, from my head and not from my stomach."
For the mind and health. Ofir Haim with Halailly after Brazil (Photo by Getty Images, ANDRES LARROVERE/AFP)
Then came the offer to coach the youth team. For his soul it was a perfect solution. Both a return to football and a calmer and saner job. From here he only soared, second place in the European Youth Championship and the semi-finals of the World Cup place him as a dedicated coach of the senior team, he became a favorite of the people and a public messenger that everyone is in love with and gather around him, pinning their hopes on him and believing that he can lead the unbelievable and make him happy non-stop, a situation that he may not have believed he would reach in his life.
On the other hand, always itching to coach in the league, the desire for daily work, the bigger money, the crowd, the emotions, these are things he experiences and he will always have the desire to experience it again. Is it right for this to happen? Once Ofir Haim stopped making decisions from the gut, it would only happen at an organized club and under a long-term contract, unlike Hapoel Tel Aviv with an agreement that allowed them to fire him with two months' notice.
How many teams will give it to him? It is possible to count the options in Israel on one hand, but an offer from one of the big three may shuffle the cards. After all, who says no to Maccabi Haifa? At Maccabi Tel Aviv he grew up and the love he has for him in Be'er Sheva is extraordinary. Still, for the sake of mind and health, let him stay with the national team as long as he can.
- Israeli football
- Israeli national teams
- Ofir Haim
- Youth national football team