“There is no similar thrill from scoring and running to goal 11”

Despite a long career that was full of peak moments, it is impossible to describe the Yossi Shabhon – Man – as a dramatic figure. In November 2020, the attacking midfielder decided to announce a second and final retirement, without too much noise and bells and whistles. At a time when the Corona dictated the agenda in the world, Shabhon saw the situation as a kind of sign to leave two decades behind him as a footballer, and move on.

The most glamorous period of Shabhon (41) was, as I remember, in Maccabi Tel Aviv, in Media he played four seasons, but the sports house where he grew up was in Hapoel Tel Aviv, whose youth department also rose to the professional level. After the time in Yellow, Shabhon crossed the road at a noisy crossing to Hapoel Tel Aviv, and further along the way he wore the uniforms of Hapoel B’S, Maccabi Netanya, Hapoel Rama’S, and the last stop was Maccabi Herzliya.

The choice to leave behind life as a footballer was indeed swallowed up (like quite a few other events at that time) during the days of the epidemic, but Shabhon still made sure to maintain himself as a valued figure in the industry. The former player moved to the lines, and currently works as a coach at the Center for Excellence and the Academy for young teams, and in addition serves as co-director of the AFEX Academy, a company for developing personal abilities of young footballers. In an interview with the Shabhon Sports Channel, he talked about life as a coach, how he felt in the first derby as a Hapoel Tel Aviv player, and who he would choose for an imaginary Katargel quintet among those who played with him in his career.

One of the most prominent connections in the first decade of the millennium. Praise (credit: Double Pass)

So two and a half years have passed since retirement. Looking back, how was the period after that for you?
“So it’s important to remember that I already retired once in 2018, but I regretted it after two months. The decision to retire came in one of the first waves of Corona, and I was returned to activity after a few months of break. I knew that getting myself back to full fitness and playing ability at this age would be too difficult for me. Can Being that if there was no corona I would have continued to play, because I knew how to take care of myself and I still loved to play, I loved to train, but I felt that it was time. I think my way of coping was to simply flow with life. I didn’t sit back and delve too much into the consequences of the decision, I decided that it was time It’s nice to say goodbye, and within two days I moved on. I think for me it was the right way to deal with it.”

And was it clear to you that you would be a coach?
“Absolutely not. It was clear to me that I wanted to stay on the field, but not necessarily as a coach. Management spoke less to me, and immediately after I retired I joined the youth department of Hapoel THA. I worked as an attack coach for Buxa (Omer Buxenbaum), and after some time I moved to Apex”.

So let’s really expand on your work these days.
“I am working with the 2008 yearbook at the academy for young teams, together with Eli Sudai and Guy Azuri, and I am very satisfied. I think it is a great project of the association and hope that in a few years we will see players from the academy also integrate into the big teams. Regarding Apex, it is a platform only for league players who want to get stronger in training More. Athletic training, technique, the idea is to really focus on the player as an individual to improve him.”

From your work today, how different is the world of soccer at young ages than it was when you were a kid?
“The differences are huge. At my age we would go to training in the team, and all the rest of the time it was soccer in the street. I remember myself as a 10-year-old boy, then I would play soccer in school, come home and do homework because my mother made me, and after that most of the hours My day I was outside. Today, on the other hand, most of the children’s soccer hours are during training. I have to say, the children go through much more intense training, they are much more professional at a young age, but when I look at my son who is 10 years old, I have 100 times more Hours of playing from him on the street, and that’s a pretty big difference in the development of a footballer.”

And in terms of the game, do you think this is reflected?
“The kids today are much more professional, that’s for sure. They know how to read the game better, they train better, eat more correctly, but I lack the cunning, the one that comes from playing soccer in the neighborhood. A child has to learn at a young age how to outwit his opponent, How does he “cheat” him? Today, children grow up with most of their playing hours in training. In training there are instructions, there are lines, order, therefore when you play in a very controlled place, your game becomes critical. You see it in adults too, you see less one on One in football. The players are much more powerful, but you lack players like Malikson, Gili Vermot. Why did Oskar Gloch mesmerize us? Because he brought something that no longer exists.”

“Today there are no players like Malikson, Vermouth” (Credit: Alan Shiver)

As I recall, Shabhon held his debut season in the seniors in 2000, and after five years in P’t he made the step to the top club in Israel. Shabhon did play during his difficult years at Maccabi, but personally this was his most memorable period, with 26 goals in 118 appearances. In the summer of 2010, he joined Eli Gutman’s Hapoel Tel Aviv, and also took part in the campaign of the Champions of the Reds. During the conversation in the exam he shared the difficult experience of moving to the sworn urban rival.

I wanted to take you to your first derby as an active player. The whole crowd of Maccabi is cursing you, and it’s a crowd that until a moment ago you played for. What is it really like to be in such a situation, and how would you advise the players to conduct themselves in such a situation?
“I remember that first derby well. Can I tell you that it was pleasant for me to hear an entire audience that kept cursing me in the warm-up? No, but a footballer has to remember that there is a big difference between a player and a fan. Of course, a fan is not allowed to say and behave in any way he sees fit, but football It’s a game of emotions. During the period after I left Maccabi, I lived in Tel Aviv, and it happened that I had interactions of this and that with fans, but I remembered that I am a player, and my duty to the public is different. Yes, I was uncomfortable at that moment, but you have to learn to cope Against this. A player who hears curses can also credit it to a certain extent, because many times fans curse the good, important players. If you ask me today, just put me back on the field, and I will know how to deal with the curses.”

And although the peak was in Maccabi Tel Aviv, you grew up in Hapoel Tel Aviv. How is it for you to see the success of the club today after all the difficult years?
“HaPoel P’t was a club where I felt all the love, where you are embraced, and it’s amazing to see the change in the way we talk about this team. From a club that was a punching bag, to a place that’s fun for you to talk about. My business is near the moshavah, so I hear their audience in many games, and that takes me back. I’m very happy that they got promoted to the Premier League, and I wish the club would continue to be a source of pride.”

It sounds like you are longing for football at the highest levels. You received offers to coach in the youth of Hapoel THA, Hapoel PTH, why did you choose not to coach there?
“It’s true that I received many offers from youth teams, but when I came to the association I discovered a project that is very suitable for me. In the end, when you work in a competitive club, there is a game every Saturday, and there is a result that needs to be brought in. In most clubs, the result affects almost everything, and I know that in the places where I am, I have An opportunity to focus on what I like, which is the personal development of young players. I don’t have a game on Saturday, parents will be disappointed, so right now it’s less urgent for me.”


Praise during his time in Barma” (credit: Alan Shiver)

And yet, don’t you have the longing to return to action?
“From the day I entered the seniors, there was pressure on me, and I had to deal with expectations. After reasonable games in Maccabi Tel Aviv, I would notice that the next day in the newspaper my grade was sometimes unreasonably low. I am competitive, but I don’t lack this pressure right now.”

Shabhon went on to say: “You have to understand, there is a big hole created after retirement. The moments of catharsis you feel when you score in front of a full stadium, it’s something you don’t feel every day. There is a kind of mental fall in the transition from the intense life as a footballer, compared to a fairly routine life after retirement. The audience, The competition, it’s missing and will always be missing, but you have to accept that it won’t come back. I was lucky and privileged to be able to miss those memories, to score a goal in Bloomfield and run to goal 11, there’s no feeling like it. There’s no excitement in normal life that’s similar to the life of a footballer, but You have to accept that it won’t come back, no matter where you look for it.”

From your entire long career, if I ask you which four players would you choose for an imaginary Catergal team, who would it be?
“So first I will choose Boksa and Michael Zandberg, who played with me in Hapoel P.T. I can say about Boksa that there was a blind understanding between us, he knew how to give me a pass and find me in exactly the right places even without raising his head, I did not play with any player who understood I’m as good as him. Michael (Zandberg) can start in any lineup of an Israeli team as far as I’m concerned, and together with them I would take Avi Nemani, and Gili Vermot who had the best one on one I’ve ever seen in my life.”

And in conclusion, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“I hope to be in a place that simply brings me happiness and a living, I hope to continue to develop myself professionally, and by and large I wish for myself to enjoy myself as much as I am enjoying today.”


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