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01/10/2020 13:00
Israeli Volleyball family mourns death of former national team coach David Kafri
News from the National Federations

Tel Aviv, Israel, October 1, 2020. The Israeli Volleyball family mourns the death of David Kafri, a former coach of their national teams, who passed away last night at his home, aged 81.

Kafri has been instrumental to the development of Volleyball in Israel for many decades. He started his career back in 1954, playing for the youth team of Hapoel Sarid. At the young age of 16, he joined their elite team and in 1956, he became a member of the Israeli national team that participated in the World Championship held that same year in Paris, France. Israel finished the competition in 16th place – out of 24 participating teams.

In 1958, David led Hapoel Sarid to victory in the national championship and he contested a truly historic match in the European Cups against Turkish opposition in 1961.

After spending many years playing for the Israeli national team, he retired from competitive sport and started his coaching career in the 80s – working with the Israeli women’s and men’s national teams, as well as a number of leading clubs, such as Hapoel Bat Yam, with whom he won the men’s national championship in the 1985-1986 season. Throughout his coaching career, he mentored hundreds of players, including many outstanding ones, who are now holding key positions in Israeli Volleyball, even off the court. Kafri coached other teams such as Hapoel Kiryat Ata and Maccabi Ra’anana, with whom he won the women’s national championship.

Uri Afek, CEO of the Israeli Olympic Committee and a former coach of the Israeli national team as well, was with Kafri in the qualifiers for the 1962 World Championship: “David was a very talented player and a key figure in the industry for many years. He was associated with the sport until the last day of his life. We shall cherish this memory of his.”

Yaakov Hershko, CEO of Hapoel Kfar Saba who played for Hapoel Bat Yam under the guidance of Kafri: “Thank you for making us better athletes, for turning Hapoel into a Volleyball powerhouse, and for making a small town such a power. Too bad you went like this without saying a word, but we will always remember you and your name remains engraved in our soul.”

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