Nir Klinger has been sacked as coach of Cypriot club AEL Limassol, amid speculation that the club has been looking to get rid of him ever since he missed a crucial derby match because it fell on Yom Kippur.
The 44-year-old and his assistant, fellow Israeli Felix Naim, missed September’s match against Anorthosis Famagustas for religious reasons after the club’s attempt to move the game failed.
Klinger, who signed a three-year contract with Limassol in May, is a former Israeli player of the year who led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Israeli league title in the 2002/03 season and to the Champions League group stages in 2004-5.
He has coached in Cyprus since 2006, guiding Paralimni, AEK Larnaca and AEP Paphos before joining Limassol for the start of this season.
Despite leading them to the quarterfinals of the Cypriot Cup and to sixth position in the local league standings, he was sacked as coach of the club on Monday.
And the Jerusalem Post reported that Klinger believes the club’s management were looking to get rid of him since he missed September’s match, which finished in a draw.
His last game was a 1-0 defeat to strugglers Doxa Katokopia 12 days ago, which left AEL Limassol nine points off top place. Klinger’s three years in Cyprus have seen ups and downs. He resigned from Paralimni after a year in charge, before being made manager of AEK Larnaca in October 2007.
However, a poor start to the 2008/9 season saw him dismissed. He finished last season on a high, helping newly promoted AEP Paphos to safety.
With big clubs such as Beitar Jerusalem, Maccabi Netanya and Maccabi Petach Tikva struggling this season, Klinger could soon be offered a post in Israeli football where he successfully managed for five years between 2000 and 2005.