Former goalkeeper and coach, and one of the most beloved figures in Israeli soccer, Michael “Lufa” Kadosh, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 74.
Kadosh coached for 37 consecutive seasons before falling ill last year. He lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday.
Kadosh, who was born in Alexandria, Egypt and moved to Israel with his family at the age of nine, won three championships with three different clubs as a player, as well as one State Cup, before retiring in 1976.
In 1965, he went to play at the Jewish/Greek owned Westview Apollon (which had just been promoted to the Premier League) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, but his transfer was not approved by the Israel Football Association and after a few months he returned to Israel.
Kadosh was part of the Israel squad ahead of the 1970 World Cup, but despite being one of the leading Israeli goalkeepers of his time, he was never capped by the national team.
He began his coaching career at Hapoel Lod in 1976 and went on to guide 19 different teams over 37 years, moving between clubs 28 times.
He was never given an opportunity to coach a big club at its prime and earned a reputation as an expert in guiding teams to promotion and saving sides from relegation.
Kadosh led his teams to promotion on eight different occasions and helped Hapoel Ashkelon avoid demotion to the third division last season despite taking over the team when it was in second to last place with just eight matches to play.
Hapoel Beersheba was the club with which Kadosh was ultimately most associated with after coaching the team on two separate occasions. He was honored by the club in an emotional ceremony at Vasermil Stadium ahead of the match against Hapoel Tel Aviv earlier this month.