Banin, Tal : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Banin, Tal

Banin, an incredibly hard-working midfielder, provided much needed grit to the Israeli National team's lineup. The captain of Israel from 1997 to 2003, and a highly respected player in Europe, he has been unable to fulfill his potential due to a crippling knee injury. During the 2002-03 Israel League season, Banin helped lead Maccabi Tel Aviv to their first championship since 1996.

Banin had been unable to find a team that will accept his high wage demands for the 2003-04 season. In early January, 2005, Betar Jerusalem signed the midfielder for the remainder of the 2004-05 season. Betar were desperate for some steel in the middle after a run of humiliating defeats.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. April 4, 1971

Career Highlights:
A member of Maccabi Haifa, at the age of 20, Banin became the second youngest Israeli player to win "Player of the Year" honors in 1991. That same season (1990-91), Maccabi Haifa won the Israel League and Israel Cup "double."

Banin then spent a season in the French top division at Cannes, and the side finished sixth, achieving European qualification. Unfortunately, that year also saw Tal begin to suffer from the chronic knee problem that would plague the rest of his career. Despite an offer to extend his contract in France, Banin returned to Israel and joined Hapoel Haifa where he was a ray of light on an otherwise ordinary side.

His hard work was rewarded with a move to Serie A (the Italian top league and then-undisputed best league in the world) at Brescia in 1997. Banin then aggravated his knee injury and watched helplessly as Brescia was relegated to Serie B. Two seasons later, Banin oversaw Brescia's triumphant return to the top division.

At the insistence of his wife, Banin returned home to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He became the backbone of Tel Aviv's capable midfield unit, and oversaw their return to contention. He then led them to the 2001-02 State Cup.

Banin had trouble holding down a starting lineup berth early in the season, but he recovered his top form midway through and never looked back. In the 2002-03 campaign, with the help of Tal's versatility, Tel Aviv won their first title since 1996. Banin scored two league goals while steering the club from behind.

In the 2003-04 pre-season Maccabi Tel Aviv were knocked out of the Champions League in the first round and a were overcome by an epidemic of infighting. On August 13, 2003, Banin and his rival for team leadership Avi Nimni were thrown off the team by coach Nir Klinger. Banin played for B'nei Yehuda for the remainder of the season.

Haifa, Israel

Defensive midfielder or left sided midfiellder.

Physical description:
5"6, 154 lb'

Career Statistics:
80 caps/ 12 goals

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Maccabi Tel Aviv Official site