Mizrahi, Yossi : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Mizrahi, Yossi

Yossef Mizrahi

When Mizrahi began playing for Betar Jerusalem, the club had not won a single title in 50 years of existence. By the time he left, they'd captured eight titles of various types. A scrappy fighter of a goalkeeper, he would often risk serious physical harm with his all-out, cavalier approach. Yossi gained seven caps (international appearances) for Israel.

As a coach he is an impeccable tactician, capable of turning wretched teams around and loved by his players. It is expected that Mizrahi will eventually get the much-deserved chance to coaching a big club that he so deserves in the future. When Avraham Grant was appointed head coach of the Israeli national team this year, Mizrahi was his first choice as assistant.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. April 4, 1953

Career Highlights:
Mizrahi debuted for Betar in 1974, and only two years later, he helped the club win its first title in history with the capture of the 1975-76 State Cup. Betar also won the 1978-79 State Cup final, where Mizrahi was very impressive in goal with teammates Uri Malmilian and Danny Nuiman in the midfield. After leading Betar to two consecutive Cups in 1984-85 and 1985-86, during the 1986-87 season Mizrahi was a major factor in Betar's first Israel League championship along with Eli Ohana. Mizrahi then played for for the minor Shimshon Tel Aviv team as a veteran before retiring from play.

After his playing days ended, Mizrahi turned to coaching, first with his old club, Betar Jerusalem. He initially coached the youth team, and was then promoted to assistant coach in 1994. When aging coach Amatzia Levcovich retired during the 1994-95, season Mizrahi took over. Betar was in last place and looked certain to be relegated, but Yossi turned the team around, taking them to sixth place. The young coach was able to take advantage of the resources at hand, and Stefan Shaloi, Ronen Harazi and Ohana looked much sharper under his tutelage. In the Cup, he took Betar all the way to the semifinal before Maccabi Haifa knocked them out.

Following the 1994-95 season, Mizrahi was not re-signed, and Eli Cohen became Betar's coach. Mizrahi ended up coaching for Hapoel Jerusalem, Betar's crosstown rival, first as assistant coach to former teammate Uri Malmilian for the Second Division club. The duo led the club to promotion before Uri quit, leaving Yossi in charge. The 1996-97 season was tough for Mizrahi because he had a young, inexperienced team based on homegrown talent (or lack of it). With no budget for imports Mizrahi managed to keep the team in the top division by securing a 12th place berth (out of 16).

The 1997-98 season was much kinder to the Reds. Mizrahi bought Assi Tubi who scored 13 league goals while Laszlo Czeh held the midfield together. The team pulled off major upsets in the State Cup, including victories over Hapoel Tel Aviv on penalties in the quarterfinals and Hapoel Beersheva in the semifinals. They lost to Maccabi Haifa in the final, though they were very impressive on the night. Hapoel Jerusalem finished 11th in the league and Mizrahi's skills were being recognized widely.

The 1998-99 side was the strongest yet as young goalkeeper Liron Strauber dominated the box, while Albanian forward Victor Patcha was a revelation. Hapoel came in 9th with the lowest budget in the league. With his reputation growing rapidly, Mizrahi asked for a small raise, far less than he deserved, but he was denied. He left the small team and without his guidance, Hapoel finished in last place, crashing out of the Premier Division and dropped to the third league a year later, proving the value of Mizrahi's work.

Yossi was signed for the 1999-00 season by another small time team, Maccabi Petah Tikva. He brough Assi Tubi over from Hapoel Jerusalem, and Tubi scored 27 goals that year. They reached the Cup quarterfinals and came in fourth, ahead of teams with three and four times Petah Tikva's budget. In 2000-01, Petah Tikva reached the Cup final and lost, 3-0, to Maccabi Tel- Aviv. They won the Toto Cup and finished eighth place on the table. In 2001-02, Mizrahi got he offer he was waiting for. His home club of Betar Jerusalem signed him as head coach and he was a popular choice with the fans. Unfortunately, the season was a disaster. Betar owed immense amounts of money to creditors and the team was not allowed to start the season. Mizarhi was not paid for almost half a year and no training camps were held. Essential players like Yossi Abuksis left the team, and when Betar finally started the season they lost one game after another until Mizrahi resigned.

Yossi was given another chance to run a Premier League club mid-season in the 2003-04 season. The star-studded S.C Ashdod team hired him to turn the team around after they were touted as genuine contenders, but achieved disappointing results. Ashdod was threatened with relegation but Mizrahi stabilized the team and led them to a respectable 7th place finish. The coach will remain at Ashdod in 2004-05 although the team has less lofty goals this year.



Career Statistics:
7 caps

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