It is no news that Ilian Iliev has agreed to work for the national team of Bulgaria, but note the explanation – because he could not help at this difficult moment. It is at least a credit to him that in this way he clarifies the factual situation, which is hopeless.
In the same moderate tone, there are requests for him to touch something and work on his self-confidence. But the most important part of the speech is his difficulty with leaving his comfort zone. And not a word about rejuvenation or aging. Thus, the request of the new coach of Bulgaria is concentrated in a summary, from which we understand that someone must be appointed to this position. No particular enthusiasm, no promises of a bright future, just to write down another job that was once considered prestigious and opened doors to further challenges.
However, after 18 years of “tidying up the house”, there is no future. Just a routine appointment of a good coach from the Bulgarian championship, who will beat the numbers, preserving his position as a club coach. It is not a precedent, because Stanimir Stoilov also held two positions in BFS and Litex 14 years ago. But more resourceful journalists can start asking questions about whether the national coach will not implement a subjective approach in favor of his club interests. However, the Black Sea is in first place in the temporary ranking and look at you who have become champions right with the coach of the national team.
The truth is that allowing Iliev to hold two positions is the height of impotence. At least I am not aware of any such precedent in any other national team participating in UEFA and FIFA tournaments. I can’t imagine that any respectable national federation would even allow such a condition to be imposed on them by any coach. But in Bulgaria, as is well known, everything is possible. I will also give an example from half a century ago. The great Valery Lobanovsky built an era with Dynamo Kyiv by winning several European Cups and was appointed coach of the USSR Sbornaya on the condition that he also remain at his club. Well, BFS equated Ilian Iliev with Valery Lobanovski, only where the comparison between the two is like between Lom and London, quoting classic Venzi Stefanov. And I add that Lobanovski actually turned his Dynamo into a national team. Something that Iliev would like to do, he cannot do for completely understandable reasons.
As for the future that isn’t there, we have a pretty miserable calendar year of 2024 ahead of us. Next autumn will be the next edition of the League of Nations, where we are still moving in the penultimate stream, and if anyone is even thinking about the World Cup in 2026, then the qualification cycle is throughout the year 2025. But Ilian Iliev is hardly looking that far, judging by the unfortunate experience of his predecessors. During this time, a new regular congress of the BFS will take place, in which Bobi Mihailov will triumph once again and everything will remain as before. And yet, let me not forget to report that in the meantime Georgi Ivanov-Gonzo will write new winning concepts to put us at the level of Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and in fact the whole thing is to warm the place. And by the way, the technical director is not happy with his new charge. He felt much better with Mladen Krstaich, with whom he sang the same trills about the bright future of Bulgarian football.
And I will summarize the situation with the most important conclusion. The Bulgarian national football team belongs to a small group of people who can do whatever they want with it. And their goal is not to bring joy and pride to the Bulgarian nation, but to continue to ensure their own material well-being. And this is not going to end anytime soon. The long-suffering supporters of Bulgaria’s A team can only hope for a miracle and their rosy dreams to send them to a new American summer in 2026. Dreams, as is well known, are free.
Material by Jacqueline Mihailov