Maccabi Haifa Football Club (מועדון הכדורגל מכבי חיפה, Moadon HaKaduregel Maccabi Haifa) is an Israeli football club and one of the leading football clubs in the country. They have won 10 championships, 5 State Cups and 3 Toto Cups. The club was founded in 1913, and it is one of the country's most successful teams, being the first Israeli club to qualify for the group phase of the UEFA Champions League.
The club was overshadowed by their city rivals Hapoel Haifa, who were then the darling club of the city of Haifa and especially of then mayor Abba Hushi. But even in its first years the club adapted a very adventurous and offensive style of play based on technique and short passes. In 1942, the club reached the Israel State Cup final, but was humiliated 12-1 by Beitar Tel Aviv in the final, which is the clubs worst defeat ever. In 1962, the club won its only honour until the 80s, when the team defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 5-2 in the State Cup final. In 1963 they reached the final again, but failed to defend their title losing to arch-rivals Hapoel Haifa 1-0.
In 1996 Eyal Berkovic and Haim Revivo left Haifa for European clubs. While the two gained great personal success there, Maccabi Haifa went into a slump. The team's standards of maintaining the services of the manager for multiple seasons was thrown as the team went through several managers during 4 years. As result, the team failed to win the national championship title, despite securing the National cup in 1998.
In 1999, under the guidance of the Czech manager Dušan Uhrin, Maccabi Haifa beat French giants Paris Saint-Germain and Austrian club SV Ried to reach the quarter-final of the Cup Winners' Cup. In the middle of the season, Haifa's excellent striker Alon Mizrahi left for French club Nice resulting in a defeat in the CWC quarter final and a slump in the club's league performance. The club's winning record continued to falter until the arrival of Avraham Grant.
A year later, Grant won a second championship with relative ease, relying on a trio of foreign footballers: Giovanni Rosso (Croatia), Raimondas Žutautas (Lithuania) and the young Nigerian striker Aiyegbeni Yakubu. Following the second championship, Avraham Grant left Haifa for the Israeli national team and was replaced by then Israel U-21 manager Itzhak Shum.
In 2002, Haifa made Israeli club history by becoming the first Israeli team to qualify for the group phase of the UEFA Champions League. In the group phase, the team defeated Olympiacos CFP and the legendary Manchester United. Haifa scored 7 points overall in the group table, finishing in the third place, allowing it a place in the UEFA Cup.
In the 2003/4 season Maccabi Haifa won an easy but somewhat unconvincing championship with the young coach and ex-Maccabi footballer Ronny Levy. In the eyes of football fans and media, the team failed to show their usual offensive flair, winning the championship due to an overall weakness of the other league teams.The team's squad, considered the finest in the league due to a consistent high budget in domestic standards, is seen as one that should score many goals in every match, resulting in a disappointment when this fails to occur. In this season, Maccabi Haifa youth club (ages 16-18) won the domestic championship, and an Israel national kids team which was constituted solely from Maccabi Haifa players won Fox Kids World Cup for 12-year-olds.
History would be made during the 2005/06 season. After months of indecision regarding the contract of Ronny Levy, it was finally decided that it would be renewed. Levy returned the favor by guiding the club to eleven straight victories in the first eleven rounds of the Premier League. This was also the key to Maccabi Haifa taking the league title after the built up a strong enough lead. While the club enjoyed great domestic success, they were not as fortunate in European play. Though Haifa was a seeded team for the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, they drew the strong Swedish club, Malmö FF. In both matches Haifa blew the lead and was subsequently punished both times. In the 2006/07 season, Maccabi Haifa finished at the 5th place in the Premier League in Israel.
Maccabi originally played in Kiryat Haim, which is the site for the main training grounds of city rivals, Hapoel. In 1955, a gift from the Italian Labour Union was a football pitch in the heart of the city of Haifa, which would become the new home of Maccabi. The opening match was a Haifa derby, won by Maccabi 4-1 over their rivals, Hapoel. The stadium does not meet UEFA's highest standards but this ultimately does not matter as UEFA has not approved for matches to be held outside of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
Kiryat Eliezer missed out on staging a historic event when Maccabi reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. It was the first time an Israeli club had made it that far in the competition, though the lucrative gate receipts expected to have been made by hosting matches in Israel were lost when UEFA forced Maccabi to look for an alternative in Europe but outside of Israel. The choice was to host the matches at Neo GSP Stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus.
On matchdays when demand is greater than capacity in the stadium, locals residents sell tickets to sit on their rooftops in order to watch important matches.
See Also: Maccabi Haifa F.C. players
Academy Coaching Staff
Kit & Equipment Staff
|UEFA Champions League|
|1994-95||Qualifying Round||eliminated by SV Austria Salzburg 1-2 in Haifa ,1-3 in Salzberg|
|2001-02||Second Qualifying Round||eliminated by FC Haka 1-0 in Valkeakoski ,0-3 in Haifa (forfeit)|
|2002-03||Group Stage||progressed to UEFA Cup|
|2004-05||Third Qualifying Round||eliminated by Rosenborg BK 2-1 in Trondheim ,3-2 in Ramat Gan|
|2005-06||Second Qualifying Round||eliminated by Malmö FF 3-2 in Malmö ,2-2 in Tel Aviv|
|2006-07||Third Qualifying Round||eliminated by Liverpool F.C. 2-1 in Liverpool ,1-1 in Kiev|
|1996-97||Preliminary Round||eliminated by FK Partizan 0-1 in Haifa, 1-3 in Belgrade|
|2000-01||First Round||eliminated by Vitesse Arnhem 3-0 in Arnhem, 1-2 in Haifa|
|2002-03||Third Round||eliminated by AEK Athens FC 0-4 in Athens, 4-1 in Nicosia|
|2003-04||Second Round||eliminated by Valencia CF 0-0 in Valencia, 0-4 in Turkey|
|2004-05||First Round||eliminated by FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-0 in Tel Aviv, 0-2 in Dnipropetrovsk|
|2006-07||Round of 16||eliminated by RCD Espanyol 0-0 in Tel Aviv, 0-4 in Barcelona|
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup|
|1993-94||Second Round||eliminated by Parma FC 0-1 in Parma, 1-0 in Haifa|
|1995-96||First Round||eliminated by Sporting Clube de Portugal 4-0 in Braga, 0-0 in Haifa|
|1998-99||Quarter Final||eliminated by Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0 in Moscow, 1-0 in Haifa|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup|
|2007||Second Round||eliminated on penalties by Gloria Bistriţa 0-2 in Haifa, 2-0 in Bistriţa|