Teams: Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Ajax, MTK Budapest, Israel
Ironi Kiriat Shmona Israeli Champions 2011/2012!
Ironi Kiriat Shmona made history today with the 0-0 draw at home the team from extreme north of Israel has won its first ever league title. With five rounds to go Kiriat Shmona has a 16 point lead which of course wouldn´t make it possible for the Hapoel Tel Aviv to reach the first place.
Merits should go to coach Ran Ben Shimon who managed his team wisely in and out the pitch. Knew how to make average players into important ones, exemples of Elad Gabay Shir Tzedek and Adrain Rochet. Used very well the efficiency of Shimon Abuhaztera in attack and Adi Elisha in midfield. Ben Shimon also showed a lot of scouting skills as he managed to bring in in January David Solari who certainly gave the "something more" to the team. Created a very good atmopshere at the lockeroom and we could observe that the team played as unit.
It is difficult to point out exactly one or other player as highlight exactly because their main quality was their team play.
If they manage to keep the majority of the players and maybe bring in two or three for a longer season Kiriat Shmona could remain at the top of Israeli football and who knows even manage to win the league once again.
Merits aswell for the owner Izi Shiratzki who showed all his love for the club and region, invested in the team without crazy amounts, but enough to help. Gave peace for Ben Shimon and the players to work and this title is only a result of patience and medium term strategy.
And finally would like to say good word for the fans of Kiriat Shmona who were always present and supported the team even in away games. For a city or nearly 25,000 people placing 5,000 people in the stadium means that 20% of the city was present in the game of the season.
The big question for now is if Ran Ben Shimon will remain in charge and then if players like Tzedek, Rochet, Elisha, Abuhatzera and Solari will remain.
For next season Kiriat Shmona will start in the second qualifing phase of the Champions League and it still not clear if the club will be seeded or not.