Iwanir named new Maccabi Tel Aviv coach

JERUSALEM, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Israel's biggest club Maccabi Tel Aviv named Motti Iwanir as their coach on Monday, a week after sacking Avi Nimni.

Iwanir, a former Israel under-21 coach and battling midfielder for Maccabi, was chosen ahead of former Maccabi Haifa coach Roni Levy partly because of his credentials as a team symbol.

He will take over at least until the end of the current Premier League season with an option to continue next season.

Maccabi are Israel's richest club but Canadian owner Mitch Goldhar's investment of some $35 million in players failed to get desired results against major rivals under Nimni.

They are third, 11 points behind Maccabi Haifa, after the season halfway point.

Iwanir said he wanted to restore the club's reputation.

"When you are envied, it means you are better than everybody else. I don't feel that there is any envy for Maccabi Tel Aviv any more, it needs to be restored," he said.