JERUSALEM, June 15 (Reuters) - Israeli treble winners Maccabi Tel Aviv have appointed former Watford manager Slavisa Jokanovic as their new manager, the club announced on Sunday.
Serbian Jokanovic led Watford to promotion to the English Premier League last season after they finished runners-up to Bournemouth in the Championship.
“We are extremely pleased to secure the services of Slavisa, especially after his recent success and the obvious interest of other clubs,” Maccabi owner Mitch Goldhar said on the club’s website (www.maccabi-tlv.co.il).
As a player Jokanovic, 46, won 64 caps for Yugoslavia.
He began his coaching career at Partizan Belgrade and led them to two consecutive league and cup doubles. Later he coached in Thailand, Bulgaria and Spain before going to Watford.
Jokanovic takes over from Spaniard Pako Ayesteran, who was a late recruit at the start of last term and led Maccabi to a unique domestic treble and Champions League qualifying spot.
Maccabi’s league triumph secured a hat trick of titles and they also won the State Cup with a record 6-2 win over Hapoel Beersheba as well as the lesser Toto Cup.
Maccabi, founded in 1905, are the most decorated club in Israeli soccer. They were a dominant force in previous decades bud found titles hard to come by since beating Maccabi Haifa on goal difference to the league title in 2002-03.
Their recent change in fortunes was brought about through Canadian Goldhar’s large investment in the club and a management team led by Jordi Cruyff, Maccabi’s sports director. (Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Ken Ferris)