"Between August 2001 and March 2002 was, in my opinion, the most beautiful period in the history of Hapoel Tel Aviv. There was a huge and amazing connection between the fans and the team, they filled Bloomfield and went everywhere in Europe. Those were eight months when Hapoel Tel Aviv was the most amazing thing in Israeli football ".
More than 20 years have passed, and Kafir Udi has a story for the grandchildren.
I mean, metaphorically.
"At the moment I am not married, the story for the grandchildren will have to wait, but the memory is strong. The journey began against the Ararat Yarban team in Armenia. We left in a small plane, stopped in Turkey to fill up with fuel, continued the flight and ran into bad weather. The low plane, took off, shook every now and then, and there was a panic inside The plane. Players were talking about the Manchester United plane disaster in 1958. It was a flight you won't forget. We won away 0:2, in the second leg we won 0:3, I scored one goal."
The journey gained momentum.
"We beat Gaziantepspor 0:1 in Bloomfield, and in the rematch in Turkey we finished 1:1 with a goal from Osterch. The next opponent that came to Bloomfield was the great Chelsea, against whom we played attacks with great motivation and saw that it was possible to knock them out. Gershon and Kalchenko scored the 0:2, on the way to the return match in London. Thousands of our fans filled the streets of London and the stands, Ostrach scored again and the game of life of Shavit Elimelech helped to 1:1. We beat Lokomotiv Moscow 1:2 in Bloomfield.
He knew beautiful days.
Kafir Udi (Photo: Maariv, Danny Maron)
The trip to Moscow was very special.
"We left about a week before the game in early December with piles of special equipment against the Russian cold. With the help of the management's special connections with CSKA Moscow, we got the club's training complex for four days.
We trained in freezing cold, snow in the special clothing.
The preparation was perfect, over five thousand fans came.
We walked in the Kremlin, accompanied by a special guard of the Russians, we were told that some of them came from Chechnya.
At the time of the game, 40 km from Moscow, the weather was freezing, minus 16 degrees, Ostrich scored quickly, the Russian pressure was stopped, we won 0:1. The celebration in the cold on the snow was huge, Yigal Antebi took off his shirt and almost became a snow commissioner, we understood the power of our audience".
Later came Pharma.
After 0:0 in Bloomfield, Hapoel Tel Aviv won in Italy 1:2.
"During the match I was kicked in the leg by Fabio Cannavaro. At the end of the match I entered Parma's dressing room, where he was last. He asked me what I wanted, I showed him the injured leg. Cannavaro immediately called out 'Luigi, come quickly'. A staff member arrived An Italian doctor who treated me on the spot. He was cute, I asked for his shirt for a friend, he gave it to me immediately with a smile. I thought of myself, the boy who came from Jaffa, meeting the great Kanbaro. Very moving."
The match against Milan was moved to Nicosia because of the security situation in Israel.
"Our fans filled the Cypriot National Stadium, we won 0:1 with a goal by Kalashchenko, the headlines in Israel and in Italy were huge. We believed that we could pass Milan as well, but an upset loss 2:0 ended our journey in Europe and left many stories."
deals in natural medicine.
Kfir Udi (photo: courtesy of the photographer)
Kfir Udi was born on August 28, 1979. "My parents immigrated to Israel from Cairo, lived in Jaffa in neighborhood D, a distressed Jaffa neighborhood. Shimon Gershon and Israel Maya also lived in the same neighborhood. I loved the ball and running after it. The place the children went to was from the community center Reka still exists today. The local coach Eli Davidson took me under his wing and added me to the community center team that played in the Jaffa neighborhood team.
I studied at the school in Givat HaTamir and in Irini Z.
At home they loved football, father and mother supported me.
I arrived at Hapoel Tel Aviv's youth team, under former striker coach Amir Lieberman, with whom I closed a circle when I coached Hapoel Tel Aviv's veteran team in which I appear.
In my bedroom hung the posters of Eli Ohana and Haim Rabivo.
Today I am a personal fitness trainer and practice natural medicine that helps the body and mind."
In the youth team he was coached by former striker Shabtai Levy.
"He remembered me and when he worked in the seniors with Moshe Sinai, he recommended that I be brought up in the 1996/97 season. Shabtai improved the important fundamentals of a striker in me, such as entering and running into free territory and not waiting for a pass to the leg. His saying that stayed with me throughout my career was 'When you break into the box, put the The ball between the goalkeeper's eyes'. He improved my ability to play with my back to the goal, like a real striker 9. Moshe Sinai is the coach who gave me the stage."
He was a partner in a huge achievement of the boys' team with coach Benny Tabak.
"My first big thing in football. April-May 1996, the European Championship for boys in Austria. Yossi Benyon was the leading player, we achieved victories over England 1:2 and Germany 2:3 with a brace from Shlomi Dahan and a goal from Lior Apota, we reached the semi-finals against the French team We lost to her 0:1, and in the bronze medal match we beat Greece 2:3, an unforgettable achievement."
His first game in the seniors was against Beitar Jerusalem. "Bloomfield is full against Eli Ohana, Itzik Zohar, Shaloy, Ronen Harzi, Aboksis and other players I admired.
We lost 4:1, but it was an honor to be on the grass."
He remembers the laces game in 1998 very well. "For me and for the players and coach Eli Cohen, the championship this season belongs to Hapoel Tel Aviv.
We beat Hapoel Petah Tikva, and we waited together for the end of the match between Beit Shan and Bitar.
The tension was enormous, until Jerusalem's winning goal.
The championship that should have been red became a story that will not be forgotten."
In the first contract at the club he was still a soldier. "Hapoel Tel Aviv gave Shimon Gershon, Kobi Shalu, and me a new Fiat Bravo car.
Later, Moti Orenstein, one of the owners of Hapoel Tel Aviv, helped me with a three-year contract to purchase an apartment in Rishon Lezion."
He was called to the national team by Richard Nielsen.
"A friendly match was scheduled against the Russian national team. The director of the Israeli national team, Stochinsky, called and asked me to come to Rothschild Boulevard, a prestigious building belonging to the Russian Embassy, to a Nielsen press conference, where there will be other players. I arrived at the meeting, which was attended by all the members of the media, the heads of the association and many others. Suddenly I was asked to go up to the stage, to the table of honor next to my men Levy, Nielsen, and Shum, as if I were the main story. All eyes were on me. The dream came true when Nielsen announced the national squad for Russia, and I was on it. My roommate was a neighbor in Jaffa, Shimon Gershon."
One of Dror Kashtan's babies (Photo: Barney Ardov)
The debut match in the national team was in February 2000 in Kiryat Eliezer, against Russia.
"It is impossible to describe my feeling, as if floating in the clouds, Israel won with an excellent football display, 1:4. Badir scored a double, I am the first goal and my father is Nemani. I returned home well after midnight, the whole family celebrated with me and waited for the morning light, at 05:30 To bring all the newspapers, to see my photos in a big way and what was written about the game and about me."
The next game was against Georgia in Ashkelon, where his luck did not improve.
"In the 24th minute, when I broke into the box, the visiting brakeman pushed me onto their goalkeeper Soso Grishikashvili. There was a severe collision, I broke my ankle and my hand, Nir Sevilla entered in my place and I was taken by ambulance to Barzilai hospital. The ambulance driver turned on the radio, I heard the broadcast of the game, and I thought how things are changing, how a few minutes ago I was running on the field and now I'm groaning in pain in the ambulance. I had surgery on my leg and hand, a cast and a long rehabilitation. I missed most of the 1999/2000 doubles season. I scored five goals that season, I didn't play In the final of the cup in the victory over Beitar Jerusalem on penalties.
I also played for the Israeli national team during the Abraham Grant era, I came on as a substitute in the match in Paris in 2004 against France, I guarded Zinedine Zidane.
I'll never forget his exercise after a corner kick, he disappeared on me, overcame a Bandeau glitch and made a great, amazing, goalless move."
You were one of the 'Kashtan babies',
"A new era is being created under the purchase of the club by Sami Segol and the general management of Moishik Tumiom, Moti Orenstein and Rafi Agib.
Kashtan gave a platform to the young people of the group like Fini Belili, Salim Tuama, Shimon Gershon, Omri Afek and myself.
The group bonded around the young people, there was an atmosphere of something big about to happen.
My connection with Ronen Harazi and Shalom Tikva promoted us, a great thing was created.
For me, this is a great pride to be a part of Kashtan babies."
He couldn't believe it was happening to him.
Kafir Udi (photo: Maariv, Adi Avishi)
In the 2002/03 season, he received fewer playing minutes, did not exhaust himself and asked for a change.
"My father is a fan of Bnei Yehuda and headed to the neighborhood. With the help of Oved Kraus agents, I moved there, to a warm and loving place. Later I moved to Maccabi Petach Tikva under Guy Luzon for a great football season, second place after the champion Maccabi Haifa, and a semi-final match of the State Cup where we lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv 2 :1. I moved in the 2005/06 season to Ashdod Sport Club under coach Yossi Mizrahi. I managed to return to Bnei Yehuda, we went to the cup final where I did not play in a loss under Nitzan Shirazi 1:0 to Hapoel Tel Aviv."
And then you went back to work.
"I was close to signing with Maccabi Netanya, I started training there, but Hapoel Tel Aviv asked me to come back to play for them. I came back for half a season, I didn't get any opportunity from coach Yitzhak, Eliniv Barda also came, I asked to leave and I accepted."
Udi later played for Hapoel Ramat Gan, for a very short period with Ramat Gan and ended his career after qualifying with Hapoel Rishon Lezion to the top league.
Are you approaching religion, observing Shabbat?
"After I retired from football, following my cousin, Roy Cohen, who took me to religious classes, I observe Shabbat, observe mitzvot, connect to the spirituality of the religion. I am not ultra-orthodox."