Levy replaces Malmilian as Betar coach

By David Gold, January 18, 2011

Uri Malmilian left Betar Jerusalem on Monday morning as his disappointing tenure as coach of the team he served with distinction as a player came to an end.

Roni Levy was quickly installed as his replacement.

Malmilian had already offered his resignation once this season, but his latest meeting over the weekend with club chairman Itzik Kornfein resulted in the two agreeing to part company by mutual consent.

The latest disappointment for the club on the pitch was a 2-0 home defeat to Maccabi Petach Tikva. The club sit in 12th place in the 16-team league and have scored just once in 300 minutes of football.

Kornfein said: “Sometimes you need to take painful steps in soccer. No one enjoys taking these kinds of decisions. The reality of our situation forced this upon us. At the end of the day it all comes down to results, and they weren’t good. Anyone who cares about Betar wasn’t pleased with the results."

Malminian’s departure marks an emotional goodbye to a man who played for Betar with distinction from the age of 16, and who once turned down a move to French giants Paris St. Germain to stay in Jerusalem.

Having lead Hapoel Ashkelon into the Israeli Premier League last year, great things were expected of the former midfielder when he was appointed manager of Betar in June. Problems on and off the field have dogged his rein though, and he is believed to have decided that he needed to bring in new players if he was to stay and be successful at the club.

His successor will be former Maccabi Haifa and Unirea Urziceni manager Levy, who will bring with him considerable experience having lead Haifa to three league titles during his time at the northern club.

The 44-year-old signed an 18-month contract and brought David Amsalem to the club as his assistant. Their first game in charge will be this weekend when Betar will face Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Last updated: 4:20pm, January 18 2011