Former Maldives national team boss, Velizar Popov is said to be interested in the FC Halifax Town job made vacant by Billy Heath last week according to his agent, Dr. Hasan Anıl Eken.
The Bulgarian defensive midfielder turned manager played for teams in his home nation such as Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Hebar Pazardzhik and Spartak Plovdiv.
Popov is now a UEFA Pro Licence qualified coach and already has a wealth of experience as a manager at the age of 41.
He started as a youth coach with Spartak Plovdiv and Cherno More between 1999 and 2007 before being appointed assistant to Nikola Spasov with the Sailors.
In 2009, Popov was made manager of Cherno More and made his debut as a football manager against Minyor Pernik in September 2009. He was the youngest manager in the Bulgarian League and notably signed Brazilian striker, Mario Jardel who had previously played for Porto, Galatasaray, Sporting CP and Bolton Wanderers amongst other major sides.
Popov left the club in 2010 for Danish side, Liberika Horsens where he guided the club to promotion in 2011. This allowed the manager to join Moldovan side, FC Costuleni for the 2011/12 season. During this time, the club played in the Moldova Premier League.
After taking charge of 33 Moldovan Premier League games, the former defensive midfielder left the club and was appointed New Radiant SC boss in the Maldives. Between January 2013 and August 2013, Popov had an almost perfect record with a 100% win rate in the Dhivehi League, Maldives FA Cup and Maldivian FA Charity Shield, this was let down by three defeats in nine AFC Cup games.
A spell in Oman with Sur Club followed before moving to Thailand with Suphanburi FC and then Sisaket FC.
In January 2015, Popov got the Maldives National Team job, returning to the country where he led New Radiant to a domestic treble two years earlier. The manager took over from Croatian coach, Drago Mamic who had been assistant at Chinese side, Dalian Shide between 2000 and 2003.
Popov took the side to train in South Korea, bringing a new level of professionalism to the national team.
Following his resignation from the national team in August 2015, the former Lokomotiv Plovdiv boss has managed, Kelantan of Malaysia and Sisaket of Thailand.
Velizar Popov’s Honours and Awards as a manager.
- 2005, 2006 The Best Youth Coach-BFU Varna.
- 2008 Bulgarian Cup Runner-up.
- 2011 FC Liberika -Horsens, Denmark- Promotion Won.
- 2013 Dhivehi Premier League winner.
- 2013 FA cup winner.
- 2013 Charity Shield Super Cup winner.
- 2013 Maldives Haveeru Awards – Best Coach of the year award winner.
- 2013 The Special Excellence Award of New Radiant SC for the historical season winning all domestic titles with 100% record.
- 2013 AFC Cup group stage winner with the best attacking record
- 2013 AFC Cup quarter finalist.
Dr. Hasan Anıl Eken spoke exclusively to ElWriteBack about his client and a possible application for the FC Halifax Town job.
“We are very interested in the vacancy at FC Halifax Town and I have emailed David Bosomworth, Louisa Green, and Mike Sharman.
“I also spoke to Mike Sharman on the phone yesterday,” said Eken.
“Velizar [Popov] is a record breaking head coach. He is very successful with getting the full potential out of the players he has.
“He has done this in numerous countries, at both academy level and professional level.
“If a head coach has discipline, they will follow international leagues and can easily gain knowledge about that league and players.
“Velizar has perfect discipline! He is following many leagues and it’s proven.”
“Have you ever seen a head coach reach the Quarter finals of the AFC Cup, which is the Asian version of the Europa League, with a Maldives team? Velizar has done this and his team scored 73 goals whilst conceding only six goals.
“No offence, but can you tell me any international achievement a former English National League head coach has had? There aren’t many and I think people should be modern.
“We are seeing historical clubs dropping down to Non-League like York City and soon possibly more will follow. We want to prove something!
“If a Bulgarian head coach can be super successful with a Maldives based team then he can easily be successful with an English Non-League team.
“Velizar has proved this with other teams outside of the Maldives. He was successful in Bulgaria, Denmark, Oman, Thailand, and Malaysia, now it’s time for England.”
“In previous weeks, Velizar has refused interest from two Turkish Super League teams as his goals is to work in the UK.
“To be successful you don’t need to pay £70M for a central defender. Head coaches should know about how to get 100% performances from players that they already have and Velizar has proved this with his previous clubs.”
Eken continued by saying: “We are expecting the support of FC Halifax Town fans.
“I believe they want changes in the game and are hungry for further success off the back of last season’s promotion!
“As Velizar Popov’s agent, I was educated by Real Madrid in sports marketing, and have very good connections around the world.
“I’m ready to do everything to help FC Halifax Town achieve their goals with Velizar.”
The Shaymen have appointed Head of Scouting, Neil Young as caretaker manager. Young will take charge for the first time tomorrow against Dagenham and Redbridge.