Landau, Gili : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Landau, Gili

Landau is considered one of the most capable of the younger generation of Israeli coaches. The former striker won the top club job he has been working for when he was appointed coach of Hapoel Tel Aviv in the summer of 2004. However, he is now unemployed.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. May 7, 1958

Career Highlights:
Born and bred in the Hapoel Tel Aviv youth system, Gili was the star of their youth scheme from childhood and made his debut for the club at age 16 during the 1974-75 season. During his formative years, he captained both the Israeli youth team and the Olympic team By the late 1970s, Landau became a regular starter for the Reds, although Hapoel could not compete with Maccabi Netanya and Maccabi Tel Aviv at the top of the table.

All that changed when homegrown star Moshe Sinai broke into the side and turned them into genuine contenders. Landau's scoring ability improved by leaps and bounds as Sinai, the young playmaker, created chances for him to convert. In 1979-80, Hapoel had the best defense and finished in second place in the Israel League. The following season, Landau won his first championship with the club by a three-point margin over B'nei Yehuda. That same year, under the tutelage of the legendary Duvid Schweitzer, Hapoel nearly won the Israel League and Israel Cup "double," but lost to B'nei Yehuda in the Cup final.

Two years later in the 1982-83 Cup final, Landau scored a controversial goal, by clearly using his hand to bash in Hapoel's 3-2 winner. After a horrendous ninth place finish during the 1984-85 campaign, Tel Aviv rebounded impressively in 1985-86. They ran neck and neck with Maccabi Haifa throughout the year until the two clubs played on the season's final day. On that night, Landau scored the only goal from a clear offside position in a day of Israeli soccer history that will live in infamy. Hapoel won the title. Landau's team won another title in 1987-88 before Gili retired during the 1989-90 season.

Gili took his first coaching job with third division Hapoel Bat-Yam in 1991. The team fought a successful promotion battle in the 1994-95 season and reached the second division. In 1995-96, he coached a top league side for the first time as he led Maccabi Herzelyia to a seventh place finish, the highest in the club's history. He was fired the following season due to an uneasy relationship with the top brass and the team was relegated at the end of the season.

In the late 1990s, Landau had two failed stints with second division Hapoel Beersheva and Hakoah Ramat Gan respectively. In 2000-01, he took a job midseason with the second division club Maccabi Kiryat Gat. Gili took the provincial team from last place to a first-place finish and promotion for the first time ever. His Kiryat Gat side struggled bravely against relegation the following year, and even beat eventual champs Maccabi Haifa (4-0) away, but faced their inevitable fall. Despite the demotion, Landau's reputation was enhanced by his skilful management of the side.

During the 2002-03 season, Gili got his biggest chance yet at Maccabi Netanya. Despite a major budget cut at the start, Maccabi enjoyed a magnificent season. The coach's lineup consisted mostly of local talent and attained a fourth place finish.

Landau was unable to steer Hapoel Tel Aviv to success in the 2004-05 season. In his first chance at a big local club, Gili failed thanks to poor personal relations with some of the leading players. Even the fans turned on him despite Landau's long history at the club. By December he had been replaced at the helm of the "reds".

Tel Aviv, Israel

Career Dates:
Player: 1974-90

Coach: 1991-present


Career Statistics:
6 caps

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