Gafni, Roni : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Gafni, Roni

Gafni is a U.S born left sided defender, currently playing for Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv. The young defender is a newcomer to the Israeli national team and is probably more talented then any of his rivals for the coveted starting berth.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 11, 1980

Career Highlights:
Gafni is one of many gifted Israeli players from the Maccabi Tel Aviv system who failed to find their place at the big club. During the 1998-99 season, Roni was promoted to the senior team and was part of the squad for the duration of the campaign. The left sided defender continued to make up the numbers in the Tel Aviv squad throughout the 1999-00 season as Maccabi slumped to a sixth place league finish.

Gafni left Maccabi during the 2000-01 campaign to try his luck at Hapoel Petah Tikva. He proved to be a competent backup on the flank and soon won a first team place, starting 8 times and appearing twice as a substitute. Petah Tikva finished sixth in the league but decided to relieve Gafni of his services.

In the 2001-02 season Gafni was offered a first team place in second division hopefuls Bnei Yehuda. Coach Eli Ohana believed in the youngster and in return Gafni displayed blistering form thus helping Bnei Yehuda to a successful promotion campaign. Roni retained his first team berth in he Israeli Premier League and started 27 times for the Tel Aviv team in 2002-03. On December 22 he scored his first goal against Betar Jerusalem thus helping his team to a 1-0 home victory. Bnei Yehuda made the State Cup quarterfinals that year, while avoiding relegation with a tenth place finish.

Gafni's 2003-04 performances were of a higher caliber than ever before. He played with new found poise, stunning patrons with his metamorphosis. Overall he was in the starting eleven 31 times, passed for one assist and scored his second career goal against Betar Jerusalem. Bnei Yehuda enjoyed a stand out season, considering their modest means, capturing sixth place in the league. The "roosters" defensive unit was ranked sixth in the league, having conceded 42 goals in 33 games.

In the 2004-05 season, the defender is once again playing a crucial role for Bnei Yehuda. He was also called up to the Israeli national team squad for the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Career Dates:
Player: 1998-

Left sided defender

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