Shum, Itzhak : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Shum, Itzhak

Shum was an excellent creative midfielder with uncanny ball control. He starred for Hapoel Kfar Sava in the 1970s during that club's golden age. After retiring as a player, Itzhak coached Betar Tel Aviv, among others, before spending many years as assistant coach of the Israeli national team. When his bid to become head coach was turned down, he left to become coach of Maccabi Haifa. In 2002, Haifa became the first team in Israeli history to play in the Champions League. In 2003-04 he won the league and cup "double" as coach of Panathinaikos in the Greek league.

On November 15, 2004, Itzhak Shum signed for top Bulgarian team Litex. The contract is for a year and a half, and is set to expire at the end of the 2005-06 season. Shum has limited expectations for this year but is optimistic about winning the Bulgarian title next season.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1948

Career Highlights:
Shum, a midfielder, appeared in 53 full international games for the Israeli national team and scored five goals. He played for the National team from the late 1960s until 1981 and appeared in two Olympiads (1968 and 1976). Israel reached the quarterfinals in both competitions. Shum was also featured prominently in Israel's only trip to the World Cup Finals (in 1970).

As a coach, Itzhak won the hearts of Israeli soccer fans with Haifa's performances in the Champions League. In the first match, Haifa was beaten, 5-2, but immediately rebounded to defeat Olympiakos in Cyprus, with a 3-0 win. In the following game, Haifa fell to Bayer Leverkusen, 2-1, but in their fifth match, Haifa stunned its detractors by beating internationally-acclaimed Manchester United, 3-0. Despite this victory, Haifa could not finish above Bayer, and thus could only qualify for the UEFA cup. Haifa secured a 3:3 draw with Olympiakos to achieve the third place berth; it was, all told, a respectable first-time performance in the Champions League. Haifa was eventually knocked out of the UEFA cup by AEK Athens.

Unfortunately, Shum's Maccabi Haifa team suffered from the Champions League distraction and lost the national title on the last day of the 2002-03 season.

Itzhak was appointed head coach of Panathinaikos, the biggest club in Greece, in June 2003. Panathinaikos had not won the championship in seven years and were looking to Shum to help overthrow bitter rivals Olympiakos. Shum not only led his charges to the Greek title after all these years in 2004, he also captured the elusive league and cup double. It was Shum's first league title in a long and productive coaching career. His side captured the championship by beating Paniliakos 1:0 from Emanuel Olisadebe's dramatic goal, in the final day of the season (May 22, 2004). Shum is now the most successful Israeli coach in European soccer.

On October 4, 2004 Itzhak Shum was sacked as coach of Panathinaikos. He was obviously fired for political reasons, as he had started the season well. The Athens based team won their first three league games and had qualified for the UEFA Champions League.



Career Statistics:
78 caps/ 10 goals

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