Kashtan, Dror : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Kashtan, Dror

Kashtan, who has won more titles than any other coach in Israeli history, is considered a fierce disciplinarian. Avi Tikva was benched for three months because, according to Kashtan, he was not "trying hard enough in one training session." Dror, who does not give interviews and seldom breaks a smile, was considered the favorite to take over the national team from Richard Moller-Nielsen, but the job went instead to Avraham Grant.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Oct. 1, 1944

Career Highlights:
A decent right-sided winger with Hapoel Petah Tikva and Hapoel Kfar Sava, Kashtan found much greater fame as a coach. His first title, with Hapoel Kfar Sava, is not fondly remembered by most Israeli soccer fans, though it was an amazing achievement. In 1981-82, Maccabi Netanya was nicknamed "five goals a game" Netanya, and with Moshe Griani and Oded Machness, they seemed certain to win the title. But Kashtan had put together a fighting band of anonymous journeymen at Kfar Sava, and they were determined to put up a fight. While Netanya won by large margins, Kfar Sava fought out smaller wins and never lost during the season. In the process, they defeated a side that many soccer aficionados maintain was the best Israeli team ever.

Kashtan moved to Betar Jerusalem and won his first title with that side when he captured the 1985-86 State Cup; they beat Maccabi Petah Tikva, 3-1, in the final. Kashtan then made history with Betar Jerusalem during the 1986-87 season as he led the excellent side to their first ever championship. With the considerable talents of Uri Malmilian and Eli Ohana at his disposal Kashtan's team played outstanding soccer throughout the campaign. After the title, Kashtan left Betar and without the master coach at the helm, the club was relegated to the second division. Upon Betar's return to the top, they signed Kashtan for a second tenure. Ohana's return to the team from Portugal helped Kashtan's cause, as did the discovery of scorer Ronen Harazi. Betar won their second championship in their first season back in the top league and did it with style.

Hapoel Haifa owner Rubi Shapira was desperate to turn his team into an dynasty, so he hired the best coach around. Kashtan was thrown into a harsh pressure-filled enviroment. Within a few months of accepting the job, he suffered a minor heart attack and was forced to resign. In 1996-97, the coach was drafted by a pathetic Hapoel Tel Aviv team. By keeping the Reds in the top division, he performed a minor miracle. Betar (who seem to love sending their best coaches packing) had won the 1996-97 title with Eli Cohen, but decided to hire Dror instead. Kashtan raced Hapoel Tel Aviv all the way and won the title on the final day. Betar legend Eli Ohana retired from soccer at the end of the season and was offered the head coaching job. When Kashtan left, the great Jerusalem team fell apart.

After being sent packing by Betar, Kashtan rejoined Hapoel. This time he built a solid inspiring team on a base of young players. Home grown players like Kfir Udi, Pini Balili and Salim Tuema were groomed by the savvy coach. They won the 1999-2000 "double" with a squad vastly inferior to Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa through sheer grit and tactical acumen. The 2001-02 season was a particularly great one for the coach. Kashtan brought in Yossi Abuksis to marshal the midfield and built a fine and well balanced squad. The Reds beat Parma, Chelsea, and Lokomotiv Moscow before finally succumbing to A.C Milan in the UEFA Cup quarterfinals. They came in second that year behind a rampant Haifa side.

In 2002-03 Hapoel retained the squad that brought European glory. They remained in the race thanks to Yossi Abuksis's fine form. Under Dror's leadership, Hapoel finished in third place. Dror's contract was not renewed after Hapoel, recently wallowing in mediocrity, decided to rebuild. The coach was the most high profile unemployed coach in the league as the 2004-05 season started.

In December of 2004, Kashtan was appointed head coach of Hapoel Petah Tikva. The side is struggling and is placed 10th in the league, as of December 22, 2004. Kashtan was happy to return to the club of his youth and said, "this is a return to my roots."


Right winger

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