Basketball: Sherf accepts Russian job

Basketball Sherf accept

A year-and-a-half after being pushed out of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Tzvika Sherf is back to full-time coaching. The outgoing Israel national team coach signed with struggling Russian club Spartak St. Petersburg on Tuesday, returning to Russia for a second time in his coaching career. The 57-year-old veteran, who coached Tel Aviv for 10 seasons during the 1980's and 1990's, as well as the second half of the 2007/08 season, guided Dymano Moscow in 2004 and 2005, and has also previously coached in Greece, France and Poland. Sherf led the national team in the past four years, but faced harsh criticism after his side ended this summer's European Championships with an 0-3 record. Sherf's contract as coach ran out after the EuroBasket tournament, but as late as last week it seemed all but certain he would remain a Israel Basketball Association employee, becoming the chairman of the professional committee. However, IBA chairman Shai Shani's plan, which was supposed to give Sherf unprecedented power in Israeli basketball, was thwarted by his opposition in the IBA, and Sherf decided to move on by accepting St. Petersburg's offer. Serbian Aleksandar Trifunovic resigned as Spartak coach last week after the team lost its first four league games of the season. St. Petersburg, which is playing in the Eurocup this season, has since lost a fifth straight league game.