Maccabi Haifa went through a complex and challenging summer, which presented professional manager Gal Alberman with difficult dilemmas. The departure of Barak Behar and his staff, the implementation of the release clause of the player of the season and the team's main goal provider Omar Atzili, and the departure of key players in the form of Mohammed Abu Fani and Josh Cohen, significantly weakened the Carmel squad, and Albermann was forced to rebuild while trying to return to the Champions League group stage.
Albermann chose Masai, who was the club's youth coach, and built around him a professional hive with no significant Premier League experience, perhaps so that Dego would not feel threatened and work freely, but it could also be problematic in times of crisis. Although the squad at his disposal was not perfect, Dego did well in the Champions League qualifiers, eventually reaching the play-off stage and losing to a stronger team.
Dego. Many shares successfully, photo: Alan Shaver
But this success in Europe, in which Dego has many shares, also came from inertia and a reasonable lottery plus, which may have caused some confusion among the professional staff who felt that what was there was enough, even though there were no suitable replacements for the players who left.
So Haifa quickly realized that the league has a problem, and if they don't come to their senses quickly, it's going to be a difficult season, one that will require a lot of patience and patience from the management, and certainly from the audience. The problems began already in the summer in the goalkeeper position - Haifa tried to bring in Nathan Baxter, a Jewish goalkeeper who had already arrived for medical tests but eventually signed for Bolton of the third division in England, and Haifa had to compromise on Itamar Nitzan.
But that was just the introduction. Throughout the summer, the Greens were looking for a back midfielder, a position in which they lost two top players of local magnitude, Netta Lavi and Mohammed Abu Fani, within six months. In the end, Haifa settled for Shaw, a rotation midfielder in Ludogorets, who was brought in just before the playoffs against the Young Boys, knowing that he would not be able to play against the Swiss. With him came Lorenzo Simic, a 27-year-old Croatian defender who has already gone through 13 teams in his career (bright red light) and stepped into Dylan's shoes in Tobinsica, taking advantage of the fact that Daniel Sundgren received an Israeli ID card.
Haziza and Shimic. , warning light. Photo: Alan Shaver
And already after two league games, problems in Haifa are starting to emerge. It's not just Shimic's nightmare game against Maccabi Petah Tikva, a game that will be difficult for him to recover from - it's also the left-back position left without a replacement. The biggest concern is Shaw's slow integration, and the bench that suddenly seems inexperienced and not of sufficient quality.
If we take into account that Charon Sherry is not getting younger and will struggle to produce consistent ability for 36 turnovers, that Partzdi Piero is struggling against the league's tightest defenses, and that Dolev Haziza arrives after a season in which he was involved in only three goals, we get too dependent on Anan Khalili. He may indeed be one of the most talented players who grew up here, but he and Dia Seba will not be able to fill the huge hole left by the departure of Omar Atzili.
Bachar and Sherry. One left, the other didn't get any younger, photo: Alan Shaver
The start of this season took me back to the 2013/14 season, where I was part of Eric Bandeau's team, which was promoted from youth midway through the previous season and brought the club to the group stage of the Europa League. We opened the season with a victory over K.S., and then came a 3-2 loss in Ashdod, and from there began a deterioration and the season ended in fifth place. So now Haifa is more stable managerially, but that season must be in front of the decision makers in Haifa.
Many times the start of the season is intoxicating and lies, because it continues the end of the previous season, and once the problems are discovered, the team must show composure and flexibility. What worked at the beginning of the season won't necessarily work in the rest of the season. Dego needs to manage the transitions between Europe and the league correctly, be open to changes between and during matches, and identify who is fit and who is not, who is full of confidence and to whom any mistake can cause to sink, who is physically worn out and who is fresh.
The task begins today, against a quality and physical team, which can be very painful for Haifa. But the real challenge will be against Sakhnin, where the Greens have more to lose, because a bad result there will start a snowball that will not be easy to stop.
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Maccabi Haifa. The snowball must be stopped, photo: Alan Shaver
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