'Iceman' Oded Katash to be named as next coach of Israel national team

Katash, who will also continue in his role as the coach of the Israel under-20 national team, replaces Erez Edelstein.

October 10, 2017 04:30
2 minute read.
Oded Katash

Oded Katash. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Oded Katash will be unveiled as the new head coach of the Israel national basketball team on Tuesday, taking over the blue-and-white one month after its disappointing EuroBasket campaign and less than seven weeks before it begins its World Cup qualifiers.

The Israel Basketball Association has yet to officially announce the 42-yearold’s appointment, convening a press conference in Tel Aviv without revealing the reason. But the worst kept secret in local hoops over recent weeks is set to finally become public on Tuesday afternoon when Katash will face the cameras as Israel’s coach for the first time at the IBA offices.

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Katash, who will also continue in his role as the coach of the Israel under-20 national team, replaces Erez Edelstein, who was told his contract would not be renewed one week after the end of last month’s European Championships.

After being named as a co-host of the tournament for the first time, and on the back of some impressive wins in build-up play, Israel entered the championships with high hopes.

Progress to the knockout rounds was treated almost as a given, with the blue-and-white hoping to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time since 2003.

However, Israel received a painful wake-up call in its opener at Yad Eliyahu Arena in Tel Aviv, suffering a 21-point defeat against an understrength Italy side in what was the national team’s worst offensive performance in almost 50 years.

Following a 15-point loss to a strong Lithuania roster, Israel defeated Germany.

But that proved to be Israel’s only victory of the tournament, with an overtime loss to Georgia ending Israel’s hopes of finishing among the top four in Group B and the national team ending the championships with an embarrassing capitulation, losing to Ukraine by 24 points.

That humiliating loss proved to be Edelstein’s final game at the helm.

Edelstein also guided the blueand- white in EuroBasket 2015, when the team reached the last 16 before losing to Italy by 30 points.

Following the change in the format of World Cup qualification, Katash, who was an ideal candidate as he is also currently without a team, will already make his debut with the blue-and-white next month.

Israel faces Greece, Great Britain and Estonia in Group H of World Cup 2019 qualifying, with the top three to advance to the second round. Israel hosts Estonia in its opener on November 24 and visits Greece three days later.

In the past, teams qualified for the World Cup via the continental championships. In the new format, teams will play two rounds of qualifying tournaments to be held over two years in a homeand- away format.

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