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Journal Entry 5: Kevin Musikanth - Director of Rugby and Head Coach of the Tel Aviv Heat

Our Director of Rugby and Head Coach Kevin Musikanth started playing rugby at the age of 5 when his father passed him a ball on Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town, his home town. Since that day, he has never put the ball down.

“I fell in love with the game from a very young age. I dreamed of becoming a Springbok and my father was my rugby coach for most of my school career. He nurtured the love I have for the game. I remember watching rugby with him and knowing every player in every team in the Currie Cup.

These were my favorite memories, being with my dad and watching rugby on tv or live at Newlands stadium…”

Kevin played rugby until the age of 24 when several shoulder injuries cut his career short. During that time, he managed to play for the SA Maccabi team that won a gold medal in the 2001 Maccabi Games. "It was on the back of the Maccabi games in 2017 when I was the coach of the South African Maccabi Team when Julian Shapiro and Menechem Ben Menachem approached me to come to Israel and be the coach of the national team. Initially it seemed a tough call to make leaving SA professional rugby, on reflection and the fact that they were VERY persistent I felt I could make a difference and I imagined how proud my Russian and Lithuanian Grandparents would be should I take it on and I decided to pack my bags make Aliyah and go for it... 5 years later I am very happy I made that decision..."

Subsequently, Kevin has won another 2 gold medals and a silver and a bronze, giving him a tally of 5 Maccabi medals both as a player and a coach.

His coaching career has spanned 23 years with stints with teams in South Africa ranging from schools to provincial and varsity cup rugby.

“My favorite memory is of course the famous Varsity Cup win of 2014 when the team I coached, UCT IKEYS, came back from the dead to beat PUKKE in the final…”

Kevin co-authored a book with Jonathan Kaplan and prof Tim Noakes “Always Believe in Magic” about this performance of a match that is still labeled one of the greatest rugby comebacks of all time.

“I’m honoured to be the coach of the Tel Aviv Heat and I am proud to have initiated the club back in 2020 when my good friend and ex-President of Rugby Israel, Menachem Ben Menachem handed me a notice from Rugby Europe inviting wild card tenders to be the final participating Rugby Europe Super Cup team - Menachem told me ‘Kevin you’re crazy enough to make this happen’… I’m pleased that I did…”

Kevin also heads up Rugby Israel as its Technical Director and Head Coach of the national team.

“I love rugby and can’t be without it . There is a lot I can do without in life, but hearing a player call me coach lights up my day and I’m very fortunate that my career is my passion. It took me a long time to become a professional coach and I work hard at it every day. My dream is to be part of getting Israel to the World Cup and I’m positive that with the Tel Aviv Heat as a catalyst, we have a great chance to do so…”

When Kevin is not coaching, he is reading , studying or playing guitar.

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