Bulgaria’s Popov named Sur coach

October 10, 2013

Popov (left) with his agent Abdullah al Balushi on his arrival in Muscat

Velizar Popov of Bulgaria was named as the new coach of former domestic league champion Sur on Tuesday.

The OPL club has signed a one-year deal with Popov after the Sharqiyah giant fired its Egyptian coach Ashraf Kasem last month.

Sur was forced to part ways with Kasem after the Egyptian failed to meet the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) mandatory requirement of holding an AFC 'A' coaching licence or its equivalent while taking charge in professional league football.

Mohammed Khamis al Araimi, the national Olympic team's assistant coach, has been in charge of the club in between on interim basis.

Sur ensured that this time around it hired a coach who is more than just an AFC 'A' licence holder. Popov, who is a UEFA pro licence coach, boasts of an impressive CV.

He has led Maldives' New Radiant Sports Club to three domestic titles last season with a 100 per cent win record. He also guided Maldives' domestic champion to the AFC Cup quarterfinals last season.

Prior to his stint in Maldives, Popov was the head coach of FC Costuleni in Moldova, FC Liberika-Horsens in Denmark and PFC Cherno More Varna in Bulgaria.

A former PFC Spartak Plodiv player, the 37 year old Popov made his coaching debut in 2009 with Cherno More, becoming the youngest manager in the Bulgarian league.

Shortly after his release from New Radiant Sports Club last week, Popov said he would be happy to provide an opportunity to a Maldives player in Oman.

Popov played professionally with Bulgarian clubs Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Herbar Pazardzhik and Spartak Plovdiv. He has also worked with international players such as Brazil's Mario Jardel during his tenure at Cherno More.

Jardel has played for top clubs Galatasaray of Turkey, Porto and Sporting Lisbon (both from Portugal).