BFU Gives Markov Second Shot at National Team

Sports | Author: Alex Bivol |January 11, 2008, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: BFU Gives Markov Second Shot at National Team Bulgaria's football union (BFU) announced on Friday the appointment of Plamen Markov (L) as manager of the national side, the second time he will take charge of the team. Photo by Kameliya Atanasova (Sofia Photo Agency)

Bulgaria's football union (BFU) has announced on Friday the appointment of Plamen Markov as manager of the national side, the second time he will take charge of the team.

Markov was given a two-year deal with an option to extend it further if he meets the target of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, BFU chairman Borislav Mihaylov said.

In his first spell in charge, Markov took the team to the EURO 2004 finals in Portugal, its only major tournament appearance since 1998.

But he was sacked after managing the side to defeats against Denmark and Sweden, as well as a draw with Italy, in the group stage.

His replacement, playing legend Hristo Stoichkov, fared much worse and left the team half-way through the last qualification cycle, for EURO 2008, with two caretaker coaches managing only a third-place finish and missing out on qualification.

With Levski rebuffing all approaches for its manager Stanimir Stoilov, who took charge of two games in June and was the one Bulgarian coach Mihaylov was keen to appoint, the BFU had considered several foreign managers.

"You know the candidates, their names appeared in the papers. I met with Srecko Katanec, who didn't like our financial offer," Mihaylov told reporters at the press conference where Markov was unveiled.

"I talked also with Terry Venables, Oleg Romantsev and Walter Zenga, but the main reason we turned them down was that they all live abroad, and it was our position that we couldn't afford a foreigner," he added.

Dimitar Penev, who took Bulgaria to a fourth-place finish at the 1994 World Cup in US and was urgently drafted in to take over the team for the final games of the qualifying cycle, will remain involved with the team.

"We will make an offer to Penev, although we are still to decide where his experience could be used best," Mihaylov said.
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