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Israel soccer legend Avi Cohen dies

posted 28 Dec 2010, 11:17 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 28 Dec 2010, 11:20 ]

Former Israel defender Avi Cohen who played for Liverpool between 1979-81, dies after being severely injured in a motorcycle accident in Tel Aviv.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (DECEMBER 28, 2010) REUTERS - Avi Cohen, Israel's best-known soccer player in the late 1970s and early 80s who played for Liverpool for two seasons, died on Tuesday from head injuries suffered in a traffic accident, his son Tamir Cohen said.

Cohen, who was 54, was thrown from his motorcycle after a collision with a car in Tel Aviv on December 20.

Doctors declared Cohen brain dead on Tuesday, Tamir told reporters gathered outside the Tel Aviv hospital where the former soccer star had been treated.

"To our great sadness, a health ministry committee was in the hospital today and confirmed that our father is indeed brain dead. Which is to say, he has died," a tearful Tamir Cohen announced.

Cohen was the first Israeli to play in England, signing for Liverpool in 1979. He made 24 appearances, scoring one goal in the fixture against Aston Villa that secured the Merseyside club the 1979-80 league title. However in a bizarre twist that match also saw Cohen scored an own-goal.

Cairo-born Cohen returned to Israel in 1981 to rejoin his home club Maccabi Tel Aviv before a short stint with Glasgow Rangers in 1987-88.

He retired in 1990 having earned 64 caps for Israel, some as captain. He currently serves as the chairman of the Israeli Professional Footballers Association.