Zvika Sherf .
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
More than five years since he last coached in Israel and two years since he last
guided a team, Tzvika Sherf made a surprise return to local basketball on
Tuesday, joining Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
The 62-year-old is one of the
most decorated coaches in Israeli basketball history, holding the Maccabi Tel
Aviv job on five separate occasions and guiding the Israel national team for a
total of 10 years in three different tenures.
Sherf’s final campaign with
the blue-and-white ended in 2009, with the last time he coached an Israeli club
being in the second half of the 2007/08 season when he replaced Oded Katash at
He guided Maccabi to the Euroleague final, but was fired after
the yellow-andblue dropped the BSL title, suffering a dramatic defeat in the
final to Hapoel Holon.
His last coaching job was at Russian club Spartak
Petersburg, which he guided for almost two seasons before leaving in
the summer of 2011.
However, after spending the past two years working as
a media pundit and failing in his bid to be elected as the chairman of the
Israel Basketball Association, Sherf caught local hoops by surprise when he
agreed to become Rishon’s third coach of the season on Tuesday.
Bosani left Rishon less than a week prior to the team’s first BSL game of the
campaign, being replaced by Matah Harush.
Rishon has currently got the
second-worst record in the league at 3-8, losing its past two games after
winning the two contests prior to that.
Rishon advanced to the
quarterfinals of the State Cup with a 64-58 victory over Hapoel Afula of the
second division on Sunday, but just a day later Harush was
Sherf’s first game at the helm will be against Hapoel
Gilboa/Galil in the cup quarters on Thursday.