Emanuel Sheffer – the coach who led Israel to their only World Cup finals in Mexico in 1970 – died on Friday aged 88, the Israel Football Association said.
German-born Sheffer was described by Israeli FA chairman Avi Luzon as "the greatest of all Israeli coaches whose influence on the Israeli game and its development was decisive". He also led Israel to the quarter-finals of the 1968 Olympic tournament.
A tough taskmaster who put a strong emphasis on physical fitness, Sheffer was credited by one of his charges for replacing old-style amateur practices with a far more professional approach.
"He was an innovator and insisted on three training sessions every day with demands that I don't know if today's players would even be able to withstand," said Yitzhak Shum, who played under Sheffer in Mexico and went on to become a top coach.