Teams: Beitar Jerusalem, ISRAEL NT, Inter Milan,
The Fernandez Era / Only the passport is foreign
By Elad Lipshitz
Sometime, somewhere, the stage will arrive when you'll stop being excited by the fact that Luis Fernandez knows how to dip pita into hummus. But meanwhile, they tell you how much he's a perfect fit, how much he has a warm personality, how much his mentality is really Israeli and how much he is capable of quickly adapting here. And so, Fernandez will indeed be absorbed and assimilated here as the new national coach - all too quickly.
The thought of appointing a foreign coach was correct. It had the power to instill a new norm, to innovate. But Fernandez doesn't come anywhere close to the model behind the idea.
We were supposed to get a coach that would seem much greater than us - with grace, authority and a style unknown here - and not someone who marked time with us in the league and like everyone else got locked out by Maccabi Haifa.
We've already seen this in living color, and all the players who will be on his squad have seen him vulnerable, sometimes helpless in a mediocre Premier League. How exactly are they now to believe that a dominant European leadership figure has landed?
During his stint with Beitar Jerusalem, the moody Fernandez turned too much into one of us, an ugly Israeli among ugly Israelis. Europe is full of mediocre and relatively cheap coaches, perhaps up to par or not, but at least they would project some sterile image of erudition.
None of this mystique lies with Fernandez. He already played with us once in the neighborhood sand box, and back then he wasn't that amazing.
We didn't meet him for the first time yesterday. Fernandez was here. He was ground up and worn out. He didn't manage to do a thing. He is more or less another Lotthar Matthaus, the former Maccabi Netanya coach.
Yes, he has a French passport. But the rest is too Israeli: his history of being temperamental, his lack of sophisticated tactics, the short fuse, the short list of major accomplishments, going more with impulse than with his head and tense nerves without much innovation.
Did Avi Luzon and the collection of Halubas sitting in the Israel Football Association really bring a foreign coach, or is just his passport foreign?
The national team is in effect getting an Israeli coach with foreign citizenship. It's just another shady plan, Israel style, cooked up in a hummus shop.