Osmo, Rafi : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Osmo, Rafi

Osmo was one of the great Maccabi Haifa players. His grit and determination as a defender were essential to the many titles the Greens won during his career. His pugnacious demeanor may have been partly the reason that Osmo had only two caps (international appearances) in the 1980s. Since his retirement from play, Osmo has coached various levels of Maccabi Haifa youth teams over the years.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 25, 1963

Career Highlights:
Considered a great high school talent in both basketball and soccer -- in his one season for the basketball side of Hapoel Givat Nesher he averaged over 30 points a game -- Osmo played for the Maccabi Haifa youth team from the of age of nine onwards. He broke into the Haifa first team (in soccer) at its lowest ebb in the second division during the 1978-79 season.

Although he was an extraordinary talent, Osmo took four years to claim a permanent starting berth in the lineup. During the 1983-84 season, he suffered from a bad injury and was made to play several positions. However, Rafi shone throughout the campaign. His marking style was relentless and he was nearly impossible to pass through whether he functioned as a stopper or defensive midfielder. With Ronny Rosenthal and Zahi Armeli providing the firepower in the side, Maccabi won the Israel League title with ease.

Osmo was again instrumental during the 1984-85 season and also broke into the national team squad. His affair with Haifa ended in acrimony, however. as coach Schlomo Scharf replaced him in the 1987 State Cup final and Osmo threw a tantrum on the field. Following the outburst, the coach shipped the fan favorite to local rivals Hapoel Haifa.

Rafi was not the same player away from his Maccabi home and begged to return at every opportunity. Suprisingly, it was Scharf who brought the wayward son home. Osmo returned to the team for the 1990-91 season and held the rear together, helping Haifa to win the league title during the season. He was also a regular in Giora Shpigel's legendary "double" (both the Israel League and State Cup) winning side. Osmo finished his playing career at Hapoel Haifa before turning to coaching.

Haifa, Israel

Defender or defensive midfielder

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