Ginzburg, Boni : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Ginzburg, Boni

Ben-Zion Ginzburg

Ginzburg was one of the greatest Israeli national team goalkeepers of all-time (probably second only to the late great Ya'acov Chodorov), and is the only Israeli goalkeeper to play in Europe. Boni was a major pinup idol among teenage girls during his peak. His 62 international appearances is the most ever by an Israeli goalie.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Dec. 12, 1964

Career Highlights:
In 1983, as a 16-year-old prodigy, Ginzburg was the starting goalkeeper for Maccabi Tel Aviv, and he helped the club capture the State Cup final. Though Boni did concede an embarrassing goal to Maccabi Haifa's Ronny Rosenthal, he proved his mettle in the penalty shootout. He stopped three shots and scored one himself as Tel Aviv won the Cup.

In 1987, he transfered to Maccabi Haifa to replace Avi Ran, who was killed in a tragic boating accident. Despite his talent, Ginzburg was unpopular with Haifa fans because they believed Ran was irreplaceable. Ginzburg also played for Maccabi Petah Tikva, Betar Jerusalem and B'nei Yehuda during his career.

A member of the Israeli National team from 1984-1996, his best year in goal for the National team was during the 1990 World Cup qualification campaign. Israel topped the Oceania group and faced off with Columbia in the playoffs. In the first away game, Ginzburg was excellent as he made many great saves, including a particularly impossible backflip save with his fingertips. Columbia won the match, 1-0, though they deserved to win by a much bigger margin and only Ginzburg's solid goalkeeping kept the game close.

Ginzburg's form for the national team captured the imagination of Glasgow Rangers' coach, Graeme Souness. He was initially intended to be the starting goalkeeper, but when extra funds were made available, English international goalkeeper Chris Woods was signed and Ginzburg was soon benched. Boni earned accolades in the Scottish press when he played, but did not get enough opportunities to do so due to fierce competition from the talented Woods.

In 1991, Ginzburg returned to Israel with a dismal Maccabi Yavneh side, and despite his best efforts, he could not keep them from eventual relegation. Boni then played for Ironi Ashdod from 1993-1995, but they, too, were relegated during his second year. Despite his lack of club success, Ginzburg remained the national goalkeeper throughout these years.

In 1996, Ginzburg returned to Maccabi Haifa for an unpleasant tenure. He began the season as the starting goalkeeper, but did not play well. The local press touted the young Nir Davidovic as the worthy starter. Both keepers slung verbal mud at each other. Eventually Haifa coach Giora Shpigel gave the starting position to the Davidovic and Ginzburg was forced to move on. It was during this period that Boni finally lost his place in the national team.

After leaving Haifa, it was apparent that Ginzburg's instincts had started to deteriorate. In his mid-30s, he played for lower division clubs like Maccabi Yavne before finally retiring in 2001 at the age 37. Boni tried his hand at coaching with Hapoel Ashkelon, then became a commentator on national television. Ginzburg also functioned as the head of the Israeli Soccer Players Union for a time.


Career Statistics:
67 caps

Use links below to navigate through the soccer section of Jews In Sports.

< PreviousNext >