Local Hoops: Birenboim named Rishon Lezion coach

National team begins preparation for September's EuroBasket tournament.

effi birenboim 88 (photo credit: )
effi birenboim 88
(photo credit: )
Six months after being fired by Maccabi Tel Aviv, Effi Birenboim is back in Israeli basketball after signing a oneyear contract to coach Maccabi Rishon Lezion on Friday. Rishon will be the 11th club Birenboim has coached in his long career, which began some 23 years ago. Birenboim lasted just nine total games at Tel Aviv after the club's management decided the team was headed in the wrong direction despite the fact it won four its first five league encounters and split its first four Euroleague games under Birenboim's guidance. Birenboim will replace Ofer Berkowitz at Rishon, who has saved the team from relegation in each of the last two seasons, but on both occasions wasn't given the chance to continue and rebuild the side. Meanwhile, the national team officially began its preparations for the European Championships on Friday. Tzvika Sherf's team will face Greece, Croatia and Macedonia in the EuroBasket tournament in Poland in September and the coach confirmed on Friday that the roster will visit Auschwitz concentration camp before playing its first game of the competition.