Soccer-Klinger quits as Maccabi Tel Aviv coach

By Ori Lewis

JERUSALEM, Dec 5 - Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Nir
Klinger quit the club on Monday after a string of bad results.

Maccabi's poor run led to repeated calls from fans for
Klinger to be ousted. The embattled coach decided he had had
enough following Sunday's home 3-2 defeat by Betar Jerusalem.

"Maccabi Tel Aviv would like to thank Nir Klinger for three
and a half years during which he coached the club and led it to
very impressive achievements," a Maccabi statement read.

Klinger is the fourth Israeli Premier League casualty of the
season. He will be replaced by caretaker coach Eli Driks, who is
the club's administrative manager and a former youth team coach.

Klinger started the season with a midfield which includes
Avi Nimni, the national team captain, Eyal Berkovic and Giovanni
Rosso, a lineup local media soon dubbed as Israel's "galacticos".

But the consistent under-achievers, whose declared aim was
to regain the league title last won three seasons ago, now lie
fifth in the 12-team table with 17 points from 12 matches, half
the 34 points which runaway leaders Maccabi Haifa have accrued.

Maccabi were knocked out of the UEFA Cup second qualifying
stage by Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus.

Names already mentioned as successors to Klinger are Upper
Nazareth boss Motti Iwanir and national under-21 coach Guy Levi.