An appropriate send-off for Kashtan

Now it's on to bigger - and hopefully for all of us - even better things from the coach.

Dror Kashtan 224.88 (photo credit: )
Dror Kashtan 224.88
(photo credit: )
Just as I turned to a colleague to verify when the last time a State Cup final went 90 minutes without a goal, Ilia Yavorian appeared to make my question academic. (But for the sake of my research, it was between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa in 2002.) Ultimately, few will remember that this game was rather uneventful. What will be remembered is that Hapoel Tel Aviv won coach Dror Kashtan's penultimate match. Although the reds still face Maccabi Tel Aviv in their final Premier League fixture of the 2005/06 season on Saturday, the dour coach's work here is done. Now it's on to bigger - and hopefully for all of us - even better things from Kashtan. The 61-year-old coach will take the reigns of the national team, aiming to lead the blue-and-white to the European Championships for the first time. It's been a long time coming for Kashtan, who has been a huge success at every stop of his coaching career thus far, from leading Hapoel Kfar Saba to the title in 1982, to an historic double with Maccabi Tel Aviv, three championships with Betar Jerusalem, a place in the UEFA Cup quarterfinals with Hapoel Tel Aviv and even a Toto Cup win with Hapoel Petah Tikva. It won't be easy in a qualifying group that includes England, Russia and Croatia, but for the first time, the consensus will be with him. Watching Hapoel Tel Aviv on Tuesday, it was easy to see Kashtan's hallmark on the team. Hapoel played tactically sound, with few risks and had just enough luck to get the result. For the casual observer, that combination doesn't make for an exciting evening at National Stadium or even in front of the television. But there are millions like myself who would settle for that from Kashtan in every national team game these next two years.