Antonio Locatelli was born on the 8th May 1983 in Bergamo, Italy to an Italian father and Croatian mother. His footballing career started off with Atalanta Bergamo but never amounted to much and drifted around many Serie C/D clubs. So like many players he ventured into coaching where his career really took off. His hometown club Atalanta were willing to take him on where he impressed manager at the time Stefan Colantuono (now of Udinese Calcio). Stefan recommended Antonio to Nagoya Grampus manager Dragan Stojkovic. Dragan took him on and eventually made him his assistant in 2010 where they enjoyed a fairly successful partnership, winning the Super Cup and qualifying for the AFC Champions League on several occasions. He followed Dragan out of Nagoya Grampus in 2013 and has been jobless up until now.
Antonio Locatelli (above) was appointed Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona manager on the 8th July 2014 after impressing chairman Izzy Sheratzky. Sheratzky was very open to the press saying Antonio's appointment was 'risky', however he later said 'this could flourish into an exciting adventure with a young, bright manager'.
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona come off the back of a good season which saw them finish 3rd and qualify for the 3rd Qualifying Round of the UEFA Europa League. However, with Locatelli in charge, anything can happen.
Antonio Locatelli was revealed to the press and was quick to point out he should not to be taken lightly. When asked about his ambitions for this season he responded with 'I don't know, if you ask me this after pre-season I might be able to tell, for now I don't know'. Evidently, Locatelli wants to wait and see what happens in his first summer as Ironi Kiryat manager.
Elkayam leaves for Maccabi Haifa.
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona have confirmed the departure of Osed Elkayam to fellow Ligat Winner side Maccabi Haifa. Elkayam wants to thank the fans at HIKS for the support they gave him throughout last season where he started 33 games and was crucial to Ironi Kiryats' 3rd place finish.
UEFA Europa League 3rd Qual. Round Draw.
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona have been drawn with FC Luzern of Switzerland in the 3rd qualifying round of the Europa League. They will face the Swiss side on the 31st July and a the 7th August, with FC Luzern travelling to Israel for the first leg. Locatelli said 'Any side in these stages of the Europa League can cause problems, but we are confident in our attacking play and it should be a very open game'.
One In & One Out.
The transfer of youngster Omri Atia to Maccabi Netanya was confirmed by manager Antonio Locatelli on the 19th July. Locatelli bemoaned 18 year-old Atia's lack of ambition to succeed at the club and claims he didn't want to fight for his place to become a starter. Even though Atia was only 18 years of age, Locatelli reportedly wanted him as second choice right back after Osed Elkayam departed for Maccabi Haifa.
Brazilian Thiago Rodrigues da Silva or Mosquito as he prefers, joins Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona on a free transfer from Atletico Paranense was confirmed shortly after he scored a hat-trick whilst on trial for the Israeli club against local side Ironi Tiberias. Manager Antonio Locatelli mentioned whilst talking about his qualities said that he could be loaned out due to the club already having 5 foreigners already registered.
Locatelli was very impressed with what he saw during pre-season, he explained that some of the trialists who impressed him were impossible to bring in due to the foreign player limitations, he described some of the younger players' performances as 'threatening', saying some of the older players should be 'looking over their shoulders'. There were no real big names on Ironi Kiryat's pre-season fixture list with the biggest of the ties against Mexico's Santos Laguna and other matches against lower league opposition.
As you can see Ironi Kiryat Shmona won three, lost two. All of the results were fairly good results apart from the Hapoel Afula match where Locatelli stated that his side must be more clinical if the they are to be successful. The team opens their competitive season with ties in the Europa League and Toto Cup.
For those of you who don't know much about Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona then here is a quick overview of the key players in defence, midfield and attack. Below is a squad list.
Ironi Kiryat's best defender has to be Shir Tzedek. Tzedek has already been capped 3 times by Israel and looks to earn his place in the national side before the European Championships in 2016. Guy Haimov in net is expected to have a good season for Ironi Kiryat, having been very impressive in the 13/14 season.
Vova Broun will hold down the midfield, breaking up the play and giving the ball to better attacking players in more advanced positions. Roi Kehat is the creative spark of this Ironi Kiryat side, he'll be the pivot in the attacking midfield spot creating chances for himself and his team-mates. Players such as Ahmed Abed, David Manga and loanee Rodgers Kola will provide the width of the team.
There is a lot of competition this year in the striking department with new signing Mosquito expected to be the firm favourite to lead the line in his first year with the club. The players who'll will be keeping Mosquito on his toes for the first team spot are Omir Mizrahi, Rodgers Kola and Shimon Abuhazira who is in his second spell with the club on loan from divisional rivals Maccabi Haifa.
3-0 vs. FC Luzern (H)
Competition: UEFA Europa League 3QR
Scorers: Kehat (pen 8), Mosquito (61), Manga (70)
Cards: Vova Broun (Y), Guy Haimov (Y)
This win puts Locatelli's side in a very good stead for the second leg in Switzerland. Finishing was very good on the day, something which Locatelli was openly unhappy with during pre-season, Obviously, the work the team has put into their finishing on the training pitches has paid off.
3-0 vs. H. Acre (H)
Competition: Ligat Ha'Al Toto Cup
Scorers: Manga (38), Kehat (42), Haimony (72)
Cards: Gal Mio (Y)
Injuries: Roi Kehat
Very good win against a very poor opposition on the day, the Toto Cup is something Locatelli feels his side a capable of winning and is not taking the competition lightly. Ironi Kiryat have been handed a fairly difficult group having the likes of Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Haifa, and Bnei Sakhnin who they play next. Roi Kehat gashed his head in an aerial challenge and will be out for up to 12 days.
2-3 vs. FC Luzern (A) swissporarena
Scorers: Mosquito (64), Abed (72)
Cards: Vova Broun (Y)
Going 3-0 down within the first 50 minutes, Locatelli explained that maybe his side travelled to Switzerland to complacent. He said that the side will learn from this experience and will make them a better team in the long run. FC Luzern's Paraguayan talisman Dario Lezcano was named Man of the Match and Locatelli had this to say about him, 'I was very impressed with Lezcano's movement. We new about him from the first leg and where aware of his threat, I would've liked our defenders to have dealt with him better, but with movement that good what can you do?'. Although, Ironi Kiryat lost they progress through to the Playoff round where the look too make it to the Europa League Group Stage.
Dario Lezcano (ABOVE)
Mini Injury Crisis?
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona have been shocked by the news that 3 of the 4 natural strikers have all picked up injuries in a recent training session. Locatelli described the situation as 'testing, but I think this can bring the best out of my players to perform in their absence'. So what does this mean for Ironi Kiryat? It means that young Brazilian striker Mosquito will have to step up and improve on his already impressive performances. Wingers Rodgers Kola and David Manga will also have to fill the void if Mosquito picks up a knock or isn't 100%.
The draw has been made for the 2014/15 season of the UEFA Europa League, Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona have been drawn with Austrian side Sportklub Rapid Wien after a good 5-3 aggregate win against FC Luzern. The first leg will be played in at the Municipal Stadium of Kiryat-Shmona, Israel. Manager Antonio Locatelli had this to say about the tie; 'Rapid are a good footballing side, they'll be hard to break down so we'll also have to be wary of the threat their strikers carry.'. Rapid Wien finished 2nd in the tipp3-Bundesliga, they have some good players including veteran Steffen Hoffman and new arrivals from Sturm Graz in Robert Beric and Florian Klainz.
3-0 vs. Bnei Sakhnin (A) Nazareth-Ilut
Competition: Ligat Ha'Al Toto Cup
Scorers: Abed (22), Mosquito (28, 68)
Injuries: Toevarno Pinas
A nice away win which puts us top of our group. The injury sustained by Suriname right-back Toevarno Pinas is a thigh strain which will keep him out for 2 weeks.
2-2 vs. Rapid Wien (H)
Competition: UEFA Europa League Playoff
Scorers: Mosquito (31, 33)
Cards: Vova Broun (Y, R - 66 mins), Kássio (Y)
The two away goals for Rapid Wien are not ideal for Ironi Kiryat but it's something they're going to have to deal with in the second leg. Mosquito is still scoring which is a good sign of things to come for him and Ironi Kiryat. Fans are hoping he can replicate his scoring in the league when it kicks off next game.
The league kicked-off in style for Ironi Kiryat with a decent win against Petah Tikva who are predicted to finish in and around the relegation places. Mosquito and Kehat putting in very good performances once again, this partnership that they're forming could become lethal.
1-1a vs. Rapid Wien (A) Ernst-Happel Stadion
Competition: UEFA Europa League Playoff
Scorers: Mosquito (82)
Cards: Din Maimony (Y)
Heartbreak for Ironi Kiryat as they bout out at the last hurdle towards their group stage aims. Defeat will be even more sour knowing if Mosquito's long range effort that hit the bar in stoppage time, would have put them through. 'It was a valiant effort from my guys' described manager Antonio Locatelli.
Mosquito Called Up For Brazil U-20's
New striker Mosquito is set to earn his first cap for his countries under-20 side. Mosquito has already represented his nation at under-18 level. The call up comes after the talented 18 year old scored 8 goals in 7 seven games for his new club Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Antonio Locatelli said this about the striker; 'He has been a revelation, I thought he would take a long time to settle in.'. Mosquito thanked his fellow Brazilian teammate at club level, Kássio, who encouraged him to show everyone what he is capable of. Other players called up for international duty were Shir Tzedek, Roi Kehat (both Israel), Toevarno Pinas (Suriname) and David Manga (Central African Republic).
Vitesse to activate Tzedek release clause
Vitesse boss Peter Bosz is reportedly interested in signing Israeli international Shir Tzedek. Tzedek is said to be open to a move away from the club after SC Braga became interested. However, it looks like Vitesse are in pole position to sign the commanding centre-back and are ready to activate the players release clause which stands at just £450,000.
A lifeless game which was lost early on for Ironi Kiryat. The hosts scored early doors and from then on sat back and defended for the rest of it. Poor result.
Tzedek seals move
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona defender sealed his move to the Eredivisie shortly after the disappointing loss to Hapoel Ra'anana. Tzedek thanked the club for some fantastic years and wished them all the best for the future in his first interview for the club. He also revealed Dan Mori, an Israeli centre-back playing for Vitesse was one of the main reasons for moving to Holland. The total fee was £450,000.
1-1 vs. Bnei Sakhnin (H)
Competition: Ligat Winner
Scorers: Kehat (9)
Injuries: Hen Dilmoni
A very indifferent game to the Toto Cup match where Ironi Kiryat won 3-0. Bnei Sakhnin were much better in possession and really showed in the stats. Locatelli told reporters he looks to change things in the next game and that his side are going to find it tough without Shir Tzedek. Dilmoni will be out for 12 days with a thigh strain.
Avraham Chekol sealed his move to Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona from Hapoel Tel Aviv. He will be backup to starting full-backs Toevarno Pinas and Hen Dilmoni.
Due to ongoing computer issues I've had to stop writing. I may write again, I may not, we will see. One thing is for certain, I will still be around and thankyou to the few of you that commented and viewed my story. I've really enjoyed my short time writing and hope I can fix my computer issues. I the mean time,