Scharf, Shlomo : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Scharf, Shlomo

Scharf was a very successful coach, who was known for being rather outspoken.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1943

Career Highlights:
Schlomo Scharf is one of many great Israeli coaches to start their career in Hapoel Kfar Sava. He won the cup twice for the club, in 1975 and 1980 respectively. Scharf moved to Tel Aviv's Hatikva Quarter where he came in second in the league with underdogs B'nei Yehuda and won the 1981 State Cup. B'nei Yehuda, starring the legendary Ehud Ben-Tovim, beat Hapoel Tel Aviv on penalties in an unforgettable final. Scharf enjoyed his golden years as a club coach at Maccabi Haifa. He steered them to their first ever championship in 1984, and in 1984-85, they repeated the feat. The portly coach added another championship to his resume in 1990-91.

As he was considered the best coach in the country, it was no suprise when he was appointed head coach of the Israeli national team in 1992. He built a fairly stable squad based on Eyal Berkovic, Haim Revivo and Tal Banin which turned into one of the best Israeli national teams ever. Though Israel did not qualify for the 1994 World Cup, Scharf's charges did beat France in Paris during the qualification round, resulting in the French absence from the remainder of the tournament. In 1996 Israel created another stir in Europe by beating Bulgaria (who came in third in USA '94).

At Euro 2000, Israel reached the final playoff decider against Denmark. They lost the first game, 5-0, but the worst was still to come. An Israeli paper revealed that several of the players had spent the night before the game with call girls. Scharf's contract was not renewed.

Shlomo found work with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2000. However, a clash with star player Avi Nimni came after only three games of Scharf's coaching tenure. Team owner Loni Hertzikovic blatantly took Nimni's side and dismissed Scharf. The coach looked more and more like an outsider in Israeli soccer, and offers from the major teams were not forthcoming. Scharf then accepted a job with second division Hapoel Ber Sheva. Upon his arrival he demanded an increase in budget only to be denied. Scharf walked off in protest and has not coached since.

Today Scharf is both a sports commentator and a car salesman. He remains a controversial personality, as he tends to be particularly hard on adversaries like Nimni and Richard Moller-Nielsen, the man who replaced him as coach of the national team.

Kfar Sava, Israel

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