Even though it’s a small country, Bulgaria used to have one of the best football teams back in the 1990s. People from all over the world have heard of Hristo Stoichkov, one of Barcelona’s strongest players. He played a vital role in Bulgaria’s legendary World Cup run in 1994, where the team finished in the top 4.
Unfortunately, the country hasn’t participated in an international football event since 2004. Back then, the national football team had players like Dimitar Berbatov, Stilyan Petrov, and Martin Petrov, all of which were the best at their respective positions. Even though the squad was unable to win the group stage, it performed pretty well.
After the EURO 2004 in Portugal, things have been going downhill for the national football team. As a result, there were numerous manager and player changes, but none of them had any positive effect. What more, the squad started to perform even worse because it couldn’t win against teams that don’t have any football achievements.
This begs the question - What does the country need to do to solve its national football team’s problems? Of course, there is no straightforward answer. There are many things that could be done, but according to Veselin Branimirov, who is currently helping Zorya Luhansk’s manager, the country has to put more emphasis on its younger players. This is something that many countries do, and it seems like it’s paying off in the long run.
Changes in the Bulgarian Football Union
Besides the fact that the clubs and the national team should focus more on younger players, Branimirov also thinks that Dimitar Berbatov and Stiliyan Petrov should run the Bulgarian Football Union.
In the last couple of years, the person in charge was Borislav Mihaylov, one of Bulgaria’s most legendary goalkeepers. Although he did many good things for the sport, he was also a part of a few controversies, which ultimately led to his resignation.
Following his decision, the country has to choose a new “president” of the association, and by the looks of it, one of the people who will try to take this role is Dimitar Berbatov. He is one of the most successful football players in the country and was a part of some of the world’s best teams. Most people probably know him from Manchester United, where he played with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand.
In a recent interview, Branimirov was asked whether he believes that Hristo Portochanov (who is one of the people that will try to get in charge of the Bulgarian Football Union) is actually suitable for the job. Veselin said that he respects Mr. Portochanov, but he thinks that the country needs new people with fresh ideas, such as Berbatov, Stilyan Petrov, and Martin Petrov.
It will be interesting to see whether Bulgaria will be able to resolve its issues with its national football team. We will probably have to wait a few years until that happens, but the country will get back where it belongs sooner or later.