Najwan Ghrayib

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Najwan Ghrayib
Personal information
Date of birth (1974-01-30) January 30, 1974 (age 43)
Place of birth Nazareth, Israel
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Maccabi Ahi Nazareth (assistant)
Youth career
1990–1994 Maccabi Ahi Nazareth
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1995 Maccabi Haifa 23 (4)
1995–1997 Hapoel Petah Tikva 49 (14)
1997–1999 Hapoel Haifa 55 (9)
1999–2000 Aston Villa 5 (0)
2000–2002 Hapoel Haifa 40 (1)
2002–2003 Maccabi Ahi Nazareth 29 (2)
2003–2004 Hapoel Petah Tikva 18 (2)
2004–2005 Maccabi Haifa 7 (0)
2005–2006 Maccabi Ahi Nazareth 34 (1)
National team
1998–2001 Israel 18 (4)
Teams managed
2008–2009 Maccabi Ahi Nazareth
2010 Hapoel Bnei Lod
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Najwan Ghrayib (Arabic: نجوان غريب‎‎, Hebrew: נג'ואן גרייב‎‎; born January 30, 1974) is an Arab-Israeli former footballer, and was recently assistant manager of his hometown club - Maccabi Ahi Nazareth. The manager at the time was John Gregory, his former boss at Aston Villa.

Playing career[edit]


Ghrayib came up through the youth ranks at Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, and finally got his debut in 1992 at the age of 18 playing for them in the Liga Alef, the third tier of Israeli football. His consistently strong performances won him a move to Israeli Premier League side Maccabi Haifa in 1994, where he won the championship with them in his first season there.[1] A short stint at Maccabi Petah Tikva in 1995 followed, after which he made another move to Hapoel Haifa in 1997.


After a successful season at Hapoel Haifa, Ghrayib received interest from English football club Tottenham Hotspur and was set to join the team before his proposed transfer fell through. That is when Aston Villa decided to make a swoop for the left back after club scout Ross MacLaren declared him to be the best left back he had ever seen.[2] Aston Villa paid out £1 million for his transfer but Ghrayib saw very little first-team action and was sold to Israeli side Hapoel Haifa for just £150K.[3]

Return to Israel[edit]

His return to Hapoel Haifa saw him spend another 2 years at the club before moving back to his boyhood club Maccabi Ahi Nazareth for one season, winning promotion back to the Israeli Premier League with them before moving again to Hapoel Petah Tikva.[4] The 2004/05 season saw him return to Maccabi Haifa before finishing out his career with Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, retiring at the end of the 2005/06 season.[5]

National Team[edit]

Ghrayib had a successful career with the Israeli national football team, making 18 appearances over his time as a player. He started and scored the final goal in Israel's famous 5-0 victory over Austria in the qualification rounds for the UEFA Euro 2000 tournament.[6] This was a huge result for the Israeli team as they finished second behind Spain in their qualifying group with 13 points,[7] guaranteeing them a play-off against Denmark for a spot in the final tournament, which they had never reached before. However, Ghrayib would go on to not play or make the 18-man squad for either of the 2 legs of the fixture as they lost by an aggregate score of 8-0.[8]

Arab-Israeli Identity[edit]

Ghrayib has generated controversy by speaking out publicly about the treatment afforded Arabs in Israel and his Palestinian heritage, an issue not normally discussed in Israeli media given the contentious nature of the subject matter.[9] In one widely-publicized interview with a local Haifa newspaper ('Kolbo' or 'Department' in English), he referred to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a 'dog', 'coming from a party that hates Arabs', and compared him to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.[10] The response of the Israeli public to this interview was indicative of what Shor, Eran, and Yonay (2011) describe as a "shut up and play" mentality; many of the responses to this interview were either that Ghrayib should not be commenting on politics as he was simply an athlete,[11] or that he was simply an Arab, and "...all Arabs hate us [Israelis] deport him to Palestine!" [12] Soon after, Ghrayib issued subsequent statements explaining that he was "just joking" and apologizing for anyone he had offended,[13] despite some asserting that his views reflected those of the moderate Arab population in Israel.[14]



  1. ^ [1] Maccabi Haifa F.C. Official Site
  2. ^'s Profile of Najwan Ghrayib (in English)
  3. ^'s Profile of Najwan Ghrayib (in English)
  4. ^ [2] "Najwan Ghrayib".
  5. ^ [3] "Najwan Ghrayib".
  6. ^ [4] Israel 5-0 Austria: Match Report
  7. ^ [5] The Historic 5:0 Team Against Austria
  8. ^ [6] Euro 2000 Play-Off for Final Tournament Results
  9. ^ [7] Interview:John Gregory
  10. ^ [8] "Najwan Ghrayib: As Bad As Saddam Hussein" (in Hebrew)
  11. ^ Shor, Eran and Yonay, Yuval(2011) Play and shut up': the silencing of Palestinian athletes in Israeli media', Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34: 2, 229 — 247, First published on: 10 September 2010 (iFirst)
  12. ^ [9] "Najwan Ghrayib: Sharon As Bad As Saddam Hussein" (in Hebrew) - see comment #312
  13. ^ [10] Stern, Eli. "Another Remarkable Expression of Ghrayib". Jan 26, 2003.
  14. ^ Shor, Eran and Yonay, Yuval(2011) Play and shut up': the silencing of Palestinian athletes in Israeli media', Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34: 2, 229 — 247, First published on: 10 September 2010 (iFirst)

External links[edit]