Sherf makes shock return to take over Rishon

Zvika Sherf  (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
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 Maccabi.
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 St.
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.
Roni 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 sacked.
Sherf’s first game at the helm will be against Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in the cup quarters on Thursday.