Maccabi Tel Aviv sack Avi Nimni

* Nimni removed after failing to meet club's goals

* Coach Mizrahi also leaves by mutual consent

* Club will name one replacement for both men (Updates with coach Mizrahi also leaving, details)

By Ori Lewis

JERUSALEM, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Maccabi Tel Aviv sacked manager Avi Nimni after a poor run of results that culminated in a 3-0 drubbing by Maccabi Haifa, the club said on Tuesday.

"Maccabi Tel Aviv announce their decision to remove Avi Nimni from his position as manager," a statement on the club's website ( said.

"The ownership feels that the team's performances to date have fallen short of the clear goals and expectations set out at the beginning of the year."

Maccabi are Israel's richest club who claim also to have the biggest fan base in the country but are in third place in the Premier League standings on 29 points, eight adrift of leaders Haifa and six behind second-placed Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Maccabi's Canadian owner Mitch Goldhar has spent $35 million this season building a team to challenge for top honours according to media reports but with the season just past the halfway point that aim now appears to be remote.

"I am concerned at the inability of the team to achieve satisfactory results... performances and patterns to date show that we are not on course," Goldhar said.


After Nimni's sacking perennial underachievers Maccabi issued a second statement saying the club had agreed to part company with coach Yossi Mizrahi "by mutual consent".

Nimni was given the manager's job despite modest credentials as a coach and thus worked alongside the experienced Mizrahi.

The club said the appointment of a new head coach, who will replace both men, would be made in due course.

Former national under-21 coach Motti Iwanir and former Maccabi Haifa manager Roni Levy have been mentioned in the Israeli media as favourites among the possible candidates.

Nimni was one of Maccabi's greatest players and a club icon but was forced out in 2003 after a clash with then coach Nir Klinger. It was a deeply unpopular move among the fans but he returned to the club in 2005 until his retirement in 2008.

During Nimni's 18-year playing career, which included brief stints with Atletico Madrid and Derby County, he made 80 appearances for Israel, some as captain, and scored 17 goals.

(Editing by Martyn Herman and Ken Ferris; To query or comment on this story email