One day after the appointment of Andreas Herzog as coach of the Israel’s national soccer team, the chairman of the search committee Eli Ohana, the director general of the Israel Football Association Rotem Kamar, and the technical director Willy Rotensteiner held a press conference on Thursday.
The 49-year-old Herzog has previously coached the US and Austrian team in interim roles, while also being at the helm of Austrian Under-21 side for two years. He will replace Elisha Levy.
Herzog was quoted by the IFA as saying: “It is a great honor and a wonderful opportunity for me to lead the Israel national team as head coach.”
Rotensteiner was the one who wanted to appoint a foreign coach. The members of the committee decided to adopt the technical director’s position and appointed Herzog, who is remembered for soccer fans in Israel mainly because of his equalizer against the blue-and-white in 2001 that kept Israel from reaching the 2002 World Cup.
Herzog’s first match in charge of Israel will be on September 7 against Albania in the opening match of the new UEFA Nationals League. The blue-and-white follows that match four days later, when it travels to Belfast for a friendly against Northern Ireland, before playing Scotland in its second Nations League match in October.
“We devoted many hours to the appointment of the coach,” said Ohana about the somewhat surprising selection. “Herzog has little experience as a senior coach, but [England coach] Gareth Southgate did not have much experience either and look what he has accomplished.”
Regarding the choice of a foreign coach, Ohana continued: “There are excellent Israeli coaches, but this committee evaluated all the options before coming to a decision we feel is right.”
“We have to be proud of our national team,” added Rotensteiner. “Andy was a great player and he is one of the best up-and-coming coaches. Young coaches need to go through a process. It will not happen in an instant, but it will happen.”