Moussa Hojeij conducted his first training session as Nejmeh’s new manager Wednesday after the club legend replaced Serbian coach Boris Bunjak, who stepped down the day before. Bunjak’s resignation, which came in the wake of the team’s humbling loss to Ahed Monday, was promptly accepted by the board, paving the way for Hojeij to return for a second stint in charge of the Beirut giants.
Hojeij, who is best-remembered for the 14 years he spent as a Nejmeh player, will officially take charge of the team when they face Shabab al-Ghazieh Saturday.
The departure of Bunjak, who was already on thin ice with the board despite a strong start to the season, was hastened after Nejmeh were comprehensively outplayed by title rivals Ahed.
Nejmeh were dominated from start to finish at the Sports City Stadium, with Ahed coach Bassem Marmar trumping his opposite number Bunjak in the tactical battle.
The chastening result left Nejmeh trailing their city rivals by three points at the top of the table, leading to the change of direction by the club’s hierarchy.
The purge started with Bunjak, but many of Nejmeh’s players are also reportedly facing the ax.
Hojeij is said to be actively looking to replace Syrian defender Ahmad Deeb and Brazilian striker Philipe Dos Santos. Deeb has struggled for form since joining from Al-Salmiya in the Kuwaiti top division, while Dos Santos, despite managing four goals so far this season, is not viewed as a long-term option.
The gulf in class between themselves and Ahed was painfully clear Monday, and Nejmeh are hoping to inject their squad with some much-needed foreign quality as they aim to end a five-year wait in the domestic league.
It was also announced that Nejmeh’s match with Shabab al-Ghazieh, originally scheduled for a Friday kickoff in Sidon, had been moved to the Sports City Stadium for the following day.
The alteration came after Sidon’s municipality refused to provide the venue for the tie following ugly scenes that marred Nejmeh’s clash with Ahed.
Copyright © 2019, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.