Sporting Heroes: No. 49 Nahum Stelmach

By the time he was 20 the young soccer star had already begun playing for the national team and become a pivotal element of the classic Hapoel Petah Tikva team.

By JEREMY LAST
March 13, 2008 02:20
Sporting Heroes: No. 49 Nahum Stelmach

stelmach 88. (photo credit: )

 
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When Nahum Stelmach was born in 1936 the State of Israel didn't even exist. By the time he was 20 the young soccer star had already begun playing for the national team and become a pivotal element of the classic Hapoel Petah Tikva team which won five Israeli league titles in a row from 1959 to 1963. One of the highlight's of Stelmach's career came when he scored for Israel during the team's famous 2-1 Olympic qualifying tournament loss to the Soviet Union in front of some 60,000 people at Ramat Gan in 1956. Even though Israel lost the game, the result was considered a turning point for soccer in this country. After an impressive career which saw him score 22 goals in 61 appearences for Israel, captain the national team and net 148 league goals for Petah Tikva, Stelmach retired a hero and worked for the Tel Aviv University. Stelmach died suddenly of a heart attack in 1999 aged just 62 while on a scouting trip for the national team in Spain. Tomorrow: The glamarous duo who put Israeli ice dancing on the map

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