Schweitzer, Duvid "the shark" : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Schweitzer, Duvid "the shark"

Schweitzer's impact on Israeli soccer is practically the stuff of legend. Generation after generation of Israeli players were carefully molded by the shrewd coach, from Mordechay Spiegler to Eli Ohana. Schweitzer became one of Israel's most successful coaches by winning several titles with many teams throughout the years. Some coaches can turn good teams into great ones, but only "the shark" could turn poor teams into great teams. He is credited with laying the foundations of just about every great Israeli team in living memory.

Birth and Death Dates:

Career Highlights:
As a player, Schweitzer was a capable defender who played for Israel six times between 1949-1954. He then became a coach and made an immediate impact with Hapoel Ramat-Gan. A minor second division side when Duvid began, within a year Ramat Gan was promoted and in their first year in the top division (1964), they won the title. Schweitzer's hard work allowed Ramat Gan to remain among the top teams for many years. In 1971, Duvid became the first Israeli coach ever to win a championship with a team outside the Tel Aviv area. Before Schweitzer, Maccabi Netanya was an obscure Northern side , but he took full advantage of Mordechay Spiegler's silky skills, and built a dynasty that would last a decade and a half.

In the mid-1970s, Duvid began coaching the Israeli National team, and promptly guided the side to the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The team reached the quarterfinals and finished in fifth place. Schweitzer was then retained for the 1978 World Cup qualifying campaign. Israel played Japan and South Korea, and in the first of the two-game series against the Koreans, Israel managed to ground out a 0-0 draw. In the second tie, Uri Malmilian's equalizer in the 76th minute gave Israel hope, but two late Korean goals forced the Israeli team to watch the rest of tournament on TV.

Schweitzer coached Hapoel Tel Aviv to the 1980-81 league title and Cup final where they lost to B'nei Yehuda. During his term with the Reds, he helped turn Moshe Sinai into an outstanding player, and turned Hapoel into a constant contender throughout the 1980s. Duvid then coached Betar Jerusalem to the 1984-85 State Cup title. Among his charges that year was rookie by the name of Eli Ohana. The young striker always acknowledged the great debt he owed "the shark."


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