Velizar Popov (born 7 February 1976) is a former Bulgarian football player and current UEFA PRO Licensed Head Coach.
In his Career as a player he has played for Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Hebar Pazardzhik and Spartak Plovdiv. Popov is one of the best ambassadors of the Bulgarian coaching guild abroad,especially in Asia.He is the first Bulgarian coach who won historic treble with a 100% winning record in 2013 abroad,and also the first Bulgarian coach who has ever worked in the Moldovan Premier league in 2011,in the Thailand Premier league in 2014 and in the Malaysian Super league in 2016 as well.
Velizar Popov is a highly qualified and ambitious professional football coach with over 17 years experience coaching across the world with extensive stints in Europe, Asia and Middle East,gained tremendous experience with more than 150 official games as a head coach in premier leagues and international competitions last 7 years in Europe-Bulgaria Premier League,Denmark,Moldova Premier League;Asia-Thailand Premier League, Malaysia Super League, Maldives National Team and in the Gulf-Oman Premier League;participated in international competitions-AFC Cup,UEFA Europa League,Asian World Cup Qualifiers.Working closely with squads to improve and progress teams and individual players.A self-motivated and driven professional who combines a wealth of experience in the game with strong coaching achievements to improve and progress personal skills and capabilities in order to stay current with industry trends.A proactive and tactically intelligent professional who understands the changing landscape of the modern game, focusing on exceptional coaching, man management and player development skills to build teams capable of progressing to a higher level.

Career as a coach:

Head Coach at Sisaket FC ( Thailand ) / 2017
Head Coach at Kelantan FA Malaysia / 2016
Head coach at Maldives National Football Team / 2015
Head coach at Suphanburi FC ( Thailand ) / 2014
Head coach at Sur Club ( Oman ) / 2013 – 2014
Head coach at New Radiant Sports Club ( Maldives ) / 2012 – 2013
Head coach at FC Costuleni Moldova (Moldova) / 2011 – 2012
Head coach at FC Liberika ( Horsens, Denmark ) / 2010 – 2011
Head coach at PFC “Cherno More” ( Varna, Bulgaria ) / 2002 – 2010
Head coach at PFC “Spartak” ( Plovdiv, Bulgaria ) / 2000 – 2002



Head Coach at Sisaket FC ( Thailand ) / 2017

 

Velizar Popov returns to the Thai Premier League as Sisaket FC Head Coach,after last coaching in the country in 2014 with Suphanburi FC.The Dangerous Koupreys are based in the Sisaket province of Thailand,and finished 13th in the league last season. In 2015 they came the closest to winning a major title, finishing runners up in the Thai League Cup.Bulgarian Popov has been tasked to ensure Sisaket FC, the Thai Premier League relegation battlers,finish out of the last 3 teams in the bottom of the table-the current position of the team at the moment after 6 matches with only 3 points after one win and five defeats.Popov last coached in Thailand in 2014, with Suphanburi FC before leaving to take up the Maldives national team head coach post in 2015.Popov then joined Kelantan mid-way through the 2016 Malaysia Super League season, overturning the Red Warriors’ poor performance and guiding them to a fourth-place finish in the league, and the quarter-final stage of the 2016 Malaysia Cup.However he left the Kota Bharu-based side at the end of the season, after the club could not meet his requirements for a contract extension.
Despite the short time and the difficult schedule, Popov’s Sisaket FC managed to win 15 points by the end of the first half of the season in the Thai Premier league T1 and after the fundamental wins against the direct rivals Sukhothai and Thai Honda managed to climb the team over the area of the relegation zone by equalizing points but with advantage in the direct duels with Sukhothai and Thai Honda.The cruccial away win against Thai Honda was the first away win for Sisaket FC after more than one year in all domestic competitions.

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Head Coach at Kelantan FA Malaysia / 2016

 

On 12 May 2016 the Malaysian giant Kelantan FA has hired former Maldives national coach Velizar Popov to handle the Super League side until the end of the 2016 season following K.Devan’s resignation after an unsatisfactory performance of the team under his guidance.Bulgarian Popov has been tasked to ensure Kelantan finish in the top four of the Super League.Popov,a experience coach with extensive stints in Europe, Asia and Middle East ,has also coached Thailand’s Suphanburi, Sur Sports Club of Oman and New Radiant of Maldives, relishes the challenge of reviving Kelantan’s fortunes this year.Devan left after making his intention to step aside known to Annuar following a 4-3 defeat to Pahang on April 20 but waited until Wednesday to make his decision public.Following a search for a successor, Tan Sri Annuar Musa made contact with Popov on Monday, with the Bulgarian arriving here the following day to hold talks.Kelantan are currently in sixth place in the Super League standings with 12 points, six points adrift of third-placed Selangor, who they meet on May 18 in Shah Alam. Popov,whose track record in Asia speaks for itself, is not an unknown figure among Malaysian football players and supporters,after eliminated the giant Selangor on 2013 AFC Cup 1/8 finals with New Radiant,in 2014 also was close to sign with Perak FA , but in the last moment had signed with Thai Premier League club Suphanburi FC. He made his debut as Kelantan Head Coach against Selangor away on May 18 in Shah Alam stadium with impressive performance played more than 70 min with 10 players after the red card of Wan Zack in the massive derby draw 0-0.Velizar Popov reached the most expressive and biggest win ever in the history of the club in away official match for Kelantan on July 15 against Terengganu 6:1 in Kuala Terengganu in the East Coast derby for the Malaysian Super League Week 14.Kelantan under Popov’s guidance became the first team to qualify for this year’s Malaysia Cup quarter-finals after 3 wins and one draw in their first 4 matches in the group stage 2 matches before the end. On 27 September 2016 Kelantan FA (KAFA) chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa announced that KAFA have been satisfied with Popov so far, and have seen it fit to allow him to pick his own side proposed him the extension of the contract for the following 2017 season. “KAFA are satisfied with the commitment shown by Popov and would like him to pick his own ‘dream team’, to ensure 2017 is a succesful year for Kelantan,” explained the chairman. The former Maldives National Team head coach joined Kelantan in May on what was described by Annuar as a ‘flexi-contract’ following the resignation of former head coach K. Devan. Apart from the extension, Popov will also be given full rein with the appointment of team staff and players both local and foreign in 2017, Annuar announced. On 23 October 2016, Kelantan FA chairman Annuar Musa has announced that the club have accepted Popov’s reject to extend his contract for the new 2017 season, and Kelantan have no choice but to let head coach Velizar Popov leave, one day after he guided the side to a fourth-place finish in the 2016 Super league.Writing on his Facebook page, Annuar explained that the East Coast side have offered Popov a substantial salary raise, but Popov has cited personal and family reasons for his departure. “The reason given (by Popov) was personal and concerning his family. For your information, KAFA (Kelantan FA) have offered him a one-year contract with a 60% salary increment, given KAFA’s current financial limitations,” explained the chairman. However Annuar commended Popov’s contribution and willingness to serve the side, despite knowing the challenges that he would be facing. “KAFA and I want to thank Popov’s exemplary service. He came on the basis of a long-standing friendship, accepting a salary that was not any higher than what was received by his predeccessor, a local coach (K. Devan). “I fully understand the challenges he has been facing at Kelantan, and wish him success. He is a model professional, but maybe it is not our time yet to secure his service,” conceded the chairman. Annuar ended his post by adding that no replacement coach has been identified to take over from Popov. The Bulgarian had been appointed in May as Devan’s replacement, and was then given the target of finishing in a top-four position in the 2016 Super League. The conclusion of the league action on Saturday sees Popov’s Kelantan finishing in fourth. Under him, Kelantan have won eight, drawn six and lost five matches in all competitions. An initial discussion between Annuar and Popov on the team’s plans for 2017 around a month earlier had seemed positive, with the former announcing that the latter will continue coaching Kelantan for another year, but as it can be seen, the deal has apparently fallen through.
13348866_550913611779908_491187520_n 13350966_551690491702220_674139218_oHead Coach at Kelantan FA Malaysia / 201614971214_627015194169749_1378447190_nHead Coach at Kelantan FA Malaysia / 201614914989_627015167503085_1030145555_n 14936879_627015174169751_1179538108_n 14937170_627015230836412_1714000633_n
 
 


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Head coach at Maldives national football team / 2015

 

On January 2015, Popov was unveiled as the new head coach of Maldives national football team, in a ceremony held before the kick off of 2015 POMIS Cup Final.Velizar Popov has been appointed head coach of the Maldives national team, returning to the country where he led New Radiant to an unprecedented domestic treble in 2013.Popov is a popular figure among Maldivian football players and supporters.The 39-year-old Bulgarian oversaw a league campaign that ended with New Radiant making history as the first team to take the Dhivehi League title with a 100% record winning Dhivehi League,FA Cup and Charity Shield Super Cup.He also lead New Radiant to the quarter finals of AFC Cup in 2013 with the best attacking record in the group stage that includes a local club’s biggest away win in an international tournament. New Radiant beat Indonesia’s Persibo by 7-0 in Solo, Indonesia.Popov embarks on his first foray into national team coaching having had spells in Oman with Sur and in Thailand with Suphanburi and takes over the Maldives National Team.Popov was very close to made one of the biggest surprises ever in the asian football in the world cup qualifiers against Qatar.The favourite Qatar needed 9 minutes of added time to beat the Maldives in a World Cup qualifier with the lone goal coming in the ninth minute of added time,even though there was only supposed to be eight minutes of added time.In the Indian Ocean Islands Games Maldives with Popov won their first match ever in this competition after 3 participations so far beating the old rival Seychelles 2:1.

Head Coach at Maldives national football team / 2015For Cover

 



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Head coach at Suphanburi FC Thailand / 2014

 

For the season 2014 Velizar Popov had been appointed as a new head coach of Suphanburi FC at Thailand.Currently they are playing in the Thai Premier League.Popov lead the team to the 6th position from 20 teams in the final league table for the season 2014 and lead Suphanburi FC to their first semi final in FA Cup ever in the history of the club.

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Head coach at Sur Club Oman / 2013 – 2014

 

Just two days after winning the FA Cup for historic treble with New Radiant, SC Velizar Popov left the Maldive champion after a great season with the Islanders to take on former champion of Oman- Sur Sports Club. On October the 7th he signed a one-year contract until the end of the season 2013 / 2014. Popov made his debut in one of the most attractive derby matches in the Omani League. He defeated the local rivals Al Oruba with 3-0. Whitin 3 months Velizar Popov managed to let Sur Club climb from the 10th to 3th position in the standings and he registered the best attack in the league. As a consequence, for the first time in the history of the club five players from Sur Club became already part of the Olympic national team of Oman.

Head coach at Sur Club Oman / 2013-20141452435_710006415677522_814202721_n



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Head coach at New Radiant Sports Club / 2012 – 2013

 

In January 2013 Velizar Popov headed the Maldivian champion with New Radiant SC and won the Maldivian championship with a 100% winning record, the best score ever. He also did win the Maldivian FA Cup and the Supercup Milo Charity Shields, making the treble. This was the third time New Radiant won the league. It was the very first time a club confirmed the league title with one round yet to play and with a 100% winning record. New Radiant broke the maximum league points record of 53 points set by VB Sports in 2010 by taking the Blues league points to 57, becoming the first team in history to finish off the league with a 100 percent record. New Radiant won all 19 matches they played in this years league, scoring an outstanding 73 goals in the process and conceeded only 5 goals. In the Asian AFC Cup Popov got too impressive results for the first time in the history of Maldivian football. The team scored the biggest win ever in the AFC Cup 7-0 against Indonesian team Persibo. New Radiant finished on the top of the group stage of this year’s AFC cup with the best attacking record of 20 goals in 6 games and second best defensive record of the tournament receiving 4 goals in 6 games. The club won the group with 15 points from 6 games —the best score ever in Maldivian football history— and qualified for the quarterfinals for the second time in the history of Maldives football defeating Selangor (Malaysia) with 2-0. Velizar Popov won 2013 Maldives Haveeru Awards – Best Coach of the year award after guiding the blues to Charity Shield, Dhivehi League and FA Cup success with a 100% winning record leading the team to AFC Cup Quarter finals and also The Special Excellence Award of New Radiant SC for the historical season winning all domestic titles with 100% record.

2013 Champion with a 100% winning record
2013 Super Cup winner – Milo Charity Shield
2013 FA Cup winner
2013 The Best Coach of the year award
2013 AFC Cup group stage winner with the best attacking record of 20 goals in 6 games and second best defensive record of the tournament receive 4 goals in 6 games !!!The club win the group with 15 points from 6 games-the best score ever in maldivian football history and qualified for the quarterfinals for the second time in the history of Maldive football winning Selangor ( Malaysia) 2-0.

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Head coach at FC Costuleni Moldova / 2011 – 2012

 

For the Season 2011-2012 Velizar Popov lead Moldovan FC Costuleni which play in the Premier League Moldova.

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Head coach at FC Liberika Horsens, Denmark / 2010 – 2011

 

In October 2010 Velizar Popov left Bulgarian PFC Cherno More and moved to Danish Team Liberika Horsens, with which he won promotion in 2011.

Head coach at FC Liberika Horsens, Denmark / January 2011 – June 2011
 


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Head coach at PFC “Cherno More” Varna, Bulgaria / 2002 – 2010

 

Velizar Popov had been appointed on 16 September 2009 as the manager of Cherno More Varna to replace Nikola Spasov after two years of working as his assistant manager. He made his debut as a football manager in the Bulgarian A PFG on September 20th, 2009 in a match against Minyor Pernik. The youngest manager in the Bulgarian League led Cherno More in 36 appearances for the A PFG and 3 matches of the Bulgarian Cup. Velizar remains in history the coach who reached the most expressive win of Cherno More against the leader in Bulgarian Championship (Levski Sofia). In December 2009 the sailors defeated the blue team with 4-1 in the Bulgarian Cup. In June 2010 Velizar Popov attracted in PFC Cherno More Brazilian superstar Mário Jardel, who was the most famous name ever having played in the Bulgarian league.

2010-PFC ”Cherno more” Varna-Professional-Head Coach 7 place
2009-PFC”Cherno more”Varna-Professional-Assist Coach/ Head Coach 3 UEFA place
2008-PFC”Cherno more”Varna-Professional-Assist Coach 5 UEFA place
2007-PFC”Cherno more”Varna-Professional-Assist Coach 6 Intertoto Cup place
2006-PFC”Cherno more”Varna-Youth Academy Head Coach 1 place State Champion
2005-PFC”Cherno more”Varna-Youth Academy Head Coach 1 place State Champion
2004-PFC”Cherno more”Varna-Youth Academy Head Coach 2 place national champ.
2003-PFC”Cherno more”Varna-Youth Academy Head Coach 2 place of the state champ.
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Head coach at PFC “Spartak” Plovdiv, Bulgaria / 2000 – 2002

 

PFC Spartak Plovdiv Y
outh Academy Head Coach.

2002-PFC Spartak Plovdiv
Youth Academy Head Coach 2 place.

2001-PFC Spartak Plovdiv
Youth Academy Head Coach 3 place.

2000-PFC Spartak Plovdiv
Youth Academy Head Coach 4th place.

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Career as a player:
Coach Velizar Popov is a former
Bulgarian professional football player in the highest division. In his career as a player he played for Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Hebar Pazardzhik and Spartak Plovdiv.

  • PFC”Lokomotiv” Plovdiv Academy 1984-1994
  • FC ”Armeec” Sliven 09/1994-06/1995
  • PFC”Lokomotiv” Plovdiv 07/1995 – 06/1996
  • PFC”Hebar”Pazardjik 07/1996 – 06/1999
  • PFC”Spartak”Plovdiv 07/1999 – 01/2000image11

Characteristics & Skills :
 
*Man Management: Speaks openly within the dressing room and encourages all individuals to air grievances and move on swiftly without bearing grudges. Stresses the importance of realistic optimism, focus and discipline in all areas and creates a “no excuses” culture. Understands that manner is as important as words spoken and that all players should be valued equally in order to avoid undermining team dynamic.
*Development of Individuals: Gives each player a sense of improvement and works hard to win the buy-in of their hearts and minds as well as their body. Builds trust by ensuring private discussions remain private and encourages responsibility in players by allowing them to feel involved in the decision making process. Fosters an environment of support which ensures players freely pass the ball rather than passing responsibility.
*Best Practice: Dedicated to continuous improvement and utilises new developments in sports psychology and science to adapt approach regularly. Applies and blends valuable knowledge learnt from previous managers to hone own unique style.
*Diplomacy & Leadership: A role model for players and staff alike who sets the example by which others behaviour is measured. Provides an approachable, fair, and knowledgeable figurehead for the club who builds trust and credibility with all partners.
*Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving: Demonstrates a keen eye for detail and a meticulous approach to match analysis, individual player assessment, and tailored tactical planning. Able to anticipate potential problems and take swift preventative/reactive action.
*Influence & Attitude: Brings an air of informality coupled with authority and respect which contributes to a productive working environment. Establishes high basic standards and strives to put own stamp on training ground and club. 
* A forward thinking individual committed to ensuring a club is steered in the right direction to succeed in the changing landscape of modern football, utilising innovative coaching and management methods to create a winning mentality within a club
*A former professional player who has learned valuable lessons playing in domestic, European and international competition as well as always endeavouring to maintain an exceptional level of professionalism throughout his career
  • Oversaw the overall management of the first team, devising tactical strategies and picking the squad for match day
  • Coordinated coaching sessions with the squad, ensuring all training techniques were effectively implemented by the entire
    coaching staff and that sessions contributed to players’ development and fitness requirements
  • Conducted post match player reviews, providing the player with positive feedback and constructive criticism
  • Fostered a winning mentality within the team and club, encouraging the continued commitment of players and staff
  • Worked closely with sports scientists/fitness coaches to monitor player progression and ensure no one was over or under worked
  • Liaised with the academy coaches to remain up-to-date with player progression and potential graduates to the first team
  • Played a key and proactive role in scouting and recruitment, identifying talented and cost effective transfer targets
  • Liaised with board members and the chairman on issues regarding team success, coaching structure, player recruitment, etc.
  • Upheld the public image of the club through professional communication with both media outlets and members of the community
  • Remained commercially aware to ensure the club always participated in any business, charity, or community events
     Designed and implemented personal training plans as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) 
    • Worked with players on the mental side of the game to ensure they were ready to make the step up to the first team
    • Taught players about the importance of hydration, fitness, and the need to remain in top physical condition
    • Acted as a scout while on European trips to identify prospective transfer targets 
      • Worked with a number of young players in the first team squad to aid them in their development, with many moving on to
        successfully become top players  

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