Soccer-Beitar Jerusalem sack coach in effort to revive fortunes

Reuters

JERUSALEM, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Israeli Premier League outfit Beitar Jerusalem sacked coach Eli Cohen on Tuesday in an effort to revive their flagging fortunes, club owner Eli Tabib said.

"We have not been playing well for quite a while, not only in the last game ... it was necessary to shake things up and that's why I sacked him," Tabib told reporters.

Cohen began work at Beitar at the start of the season but had managed only to garner 14 points from a possible 33 and the club lie 10th in the standings. A fourth successive defeat also infuriated their volatile fans.

Tabib took ownership of Beitar from Arkady Gaydamak days before the start of the season and with little time and money to prepare, most of the players were those who stayed from the previous season and only a small number joined after Tabib guaranteed Beitar's future.

Cohen's was the second coaching departure from a Premier League club in as many days after veteran Dror Kashtan quit bottom side Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv on Sunday. Kashtan has been mentioned as a possible candidate to take over Beitar.

Beitar are one of Israel's best supported clubs. They are a bastion of the political right wing and the only leading team in the country never to have signed an Arab player because of fan pressure.

They have the worst disciplinary record in Israel's Premier League. Since 2005, Beitar have faced more than 20 hearings and received various punishments, including points deductions, fines and matches behind closed doors. (Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Rex Gowar)