Maccabi Haifa F.C.

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.


First seventy years of obscurity

Maccabi Haifa Football Club was established in 1913 in the port city of Haifa. It was a small, struggling club that spent most of its time bouncing between the Liga Leumit and the lower leagues.

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.

The Eighties

During the 1980s Maccabi Haifa only entered the Israeli champions' club once. In the 1983-84 season Maccabi Haifa won its first ever championship, under coach Shlomo Sharf and general manager Yochanan Vollach, overcoming Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv in a dramatic struggle. This was a total surprise to the Greens, as the club was known for its "all-around-offense" and flashy technique football style - often resulting in bad defensive formation and resultant losses. Sharf's team played with 4 strikers including: Moshe Selekter, Zahi Armeli and Ronny Rosenthal positioned at point and midfield and managed to build their defense around the late legendary goalkeeper Avi Ran. A year later, Maccabi Haifa won a second championship in a decisive performance. In 1986 Maccabi lost the championship in a controversial final match against runner-ups Hapoel Tel Aviv. The single goal scored in that match by Gili Landau was said to be scored from a passive offside position, which by the rules of the time should have resulted in a disqualification of the goal and a nil-nil result, guaranteeing MHFC the title. Due to less-than-satisfactory TV coverage, the issue has never been fully resolved until this very own day. In 1988, Maccabi Haifa decimated Maccabi Tel Aviv 10-0 to earn its biggest win ever. In 1989, under the capable hands of Amazzia Levkovic, the club won another championship.

The Nineties

In 1990 Maccabi Haifa established itself as an elite, and dominating club in Israel. It began by winning the "double" - League championship and the national cup in the 1990/1 season and continued with the introduction of three talented young players: Eyal Berkovic, Reuven Atar and Tal Banin. In 1992 Maccabi Haifa was purchased by Ya'akov Shahar, who became the owner and president of the club. Under Shahar's management, Maccabi Haifa enjoyed a financial stability and a professional working regulation similar to European football clubs' standards. Maccabi Haifa's highlight season was 1993-94. After winning the 1993 cup, Maccabi Haifa gave a stunning performance in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (CWC), beating FC Torpedo Moscow 3-1 and Parma A.C. 1-0 in the last 16, only to lose on penalties. During the season in the domestic league (then called Liga Leumit), the team went unbeaten for the entire season, out of an overall unbeaten streak of 48 games, thus winning a spectacular championship, and breaking many Israeli records. The Maccabi Haifa 1993/4 squad, under the guidance of coach Giora Spiegel, is considered one of the best squads in Israeli football history.

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.

From the millennium to the present

Previously Maccabi Tel Aviv's coach, Avraham Grant was appointed in 2000 as manager of Maccabi Haifa. Under Grant's guidance, the team regained their dominating offensive style, which, along with a much improved staff, giving the club with an almost unstoppable team, winning the championship with a series of virtuoso performances by Israeli prodigy Yossi Benayoun, including what some consider to be several of the finest goals in Israeli league history. The championship ended Haifa's "seven year itch" and the spontaneous burst of celebrating fans onto the pitch caused a tragic disaster. A young fan, Amir Rand, was crushed against the guarding rails and went into a coma, from which he hasn't managed to recover as of yet.

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.


Club chairman Ya'akov Shahar provides the main sponsorship of the club. Thus for the past several years, the club's shirts have had Volvo and Honda printed on them as he is the chairman of Mayer's Cars and Trucks Ltd., the official importer to Israel of Volvo and Honda.


Most of the club support comes from the surrounding areas of Haifa. The club is extremely popular among the Israeli Arab communities in the Haifa district and the areas surrounding Nazareth and Shfaram. In 2002, the first ultras group was formed, calling themselves "The Green Apes".


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.

New stadium

There have been indications that Maccabi may soon move from Kiryat Eliezer. Due to the recent success of the club in European competitions, the municipality of Haifa has offered the club land to develop a stadium at the southern entrance to the city.


Current squad

As of September 2008.

Out on loan

Foreigners 2008-09

Only up to five non-Israeli nationals can be in an Israeli club squad. Those with Jewish ancestry (e.g. Leonard Krupnik), married to an Israeli (e.g. Roberto Colautti) or have played in Israel for an extended period of time can claim a passport or permanent residency, which would allow them to play with Israeli status (e.g. Gustavo Boccoli)

Managerial history

Notable former players

See Also: Maccabi Haifa F.C. players


  • Israeli Championships
    • Winners 1983/84, 1984/85, 1988/89, 1990/91, 1993/94, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06
  • Second Division
    • Winners 1965/66, 1974/75
  • State Cup
    • Winners 1962, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998
  • Toto Cup
    • Winners 1994, 2002, 2006, 2008
  • Israel Champion of Champions Cup
    • Winners 1962, 1985, 1989
  • Sukkot Cup
    • Winners 1958
  • Lilian Cup
    • Winners 1984
  • Milk Cup
    • Winners 2004


  • Record home win: 10-0 v Maccabi Tel Aviv 1988
  • Record away win: 7-0 v Ironi Rishon LeZion 1999
  • Record League Defeat: 0-9 v Hapoel Petah Tikva, 1953
  • Record Cup Defeat: 1-12 v Beitar Tel Aviv, Israel State Cup, Final, 1942
  • Record 'home' Attendance: 38,000 v Rosenborg, 2004
  • Most League Appearances: 419 Alon Harazi
  • Most appearances in one season: 66 Adoram Keise
  • Most League Goals: 90 Zahi Armeli
  • Most League Goals in a Season: 28 Alon Mizrahi, Liga Leumit, 1993/94
  • Most Goals scored in a Match: 6 Aharon Gershgoren v Ironi Kiryat Shmona, 1965
  • Most League Goals in a Season: 97 1993/94
  • Most points in a season: 95 - 39 games 1993/94
  • Most Games without a loss 46 (throughout 3 seasons) 1993, 1993/94, 1994
  • Most Games in a row scoring at least one goal 39 1993/94
  • Most Away Games without losing 30 1993/94

Club officials


  • Owner: Ya'akov Shahar
  • Chief Executive: Uzi Mor
  • Executive Directors: Uddy Shochtowicz
  • Executive Directors: Barak Kana

Senior Management

  • Club Secretary: Itamar Chizek
  • Head of Football Media Relations (Press Officer): Roei Daniel
  • Director of Merchandising: Tal Goldstein
  • Director of Commercial Enterprise: Haim Izkowicz
  • Director of Finance & IT: Yitzhak Haberman
  • Director of Financial Services: Dalit Zimmerman
  • Director of Venue: Zion Biton


Academy Coaching Staff

  • Director of Youth Academy: Yehoshua Frankel

Medical Staff

  • Club Doctor: Dr. Ami Berber
  • First Team Physio: Pinny Sharon
  • Masseurs: Alexandre Robichek

Kit & Equipment Staff

  • Kit Manager: Benny Idan

Performance in the top division

Maccabi Haifa have spent 48 seasons in the national top flight, finishing in these positions:

1st 10 9th 4
2nd 5 10th 1
3rd 5 11th 1
4th 3 12th 1
5th 8 13th 1
6th 2 14th 0
7th 3 15th 2
8th 1 16th 1

International record

Season Achievement Notes
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


External links

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