IFA wants Guttman to carry on

By Simon Griver, April 4, 2013
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Eli Guttman will be offered a two-year contract extension as Israel manager following his team’s encouraging progress in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Israel followed-up their 3-3 draw against Portugal with a 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland which leaves Israel in second place in Group Six, ahead of Portugal on goal difference but a point behind Russia who have two games in hand.

Senior Israel FA executives including chairman Avi Luzon are unanimous in their belief that Guttman has done enough to lead Israel at the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Guttman avoided questions about his future after the win in Belfast in which Lior Refaelov and Eden Ben Basat scored late goals, both set up by Swansea’s Itay Shechter.

"Luzon has spoken to me and given me a lot of encouragement," said Guttman. "He sounds very happy, but I don’t think now is the time to talk about appointments for the next campaign."

Guttman has kept Israel in World Cup contention despite dropping Yossi Benayoun, who although recalled to the squad for the latest round of matches managed only a total of 14 minutes as a late substitute in both games.

The manager was keen to play down the limited role played by Benayoun who now lies two matches short of Arik Benado’s record 94 appearances for Israel.

Having said he gave Benayoun a late cameo "as a mark of respect," Guttman added: “Benayoun is in the team because he is a great player. He deserves it. He was brought on late to hold the ball. He is an asset who will become the Israeli player with a record number of international appearances."

Last updated: 4:03pm, April 4 2013