Myanmar appoint Velizar Popov for 2019 SEA Games

Bulgarian coach Velizar Popov has been handed the reins of the Myanmar Under-22 team for this year’s 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila.

Still only 42 but with plenty of managerial experience under his belt already, Popov’s appointment was announced by Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) on Wednesday evening.

The Bulgarian – a UEFA Pro Licence holder – is no stranger to the region, having had spells in Thailand with Suphanburi and Sisaket as well as in Malaysia with Kelantan.

In fact, Popov has coached solely in Asia since 2012 with stints in Oman and Maldives as well, the latter of which involving being in charge of the national team in 2015.


Myanmar are widely regarded as an emerging force in Southeast Asia but have seen their progress stagnate recently, highlighted by their group-stage exit at the last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup following a semi-final appearance in 2016.

The Under-23s also finished runners-up at the 2015 SEA Games, which was followed by a fourth-place finish two years later – when the tournament was converted to an Under-22 competition.

There is certainly no shortage of outstanding talent for Popov to work with, although inconsistency and indiscipline are often recognised as two factors preventing Myanmar from reaching the level of regional powerhouses Thailand and Vietnam.

But, with six players from the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 squad eligible for this year’s SEA Games – Phone Thit Sar Min, Sann Sat Naing, Soe Moe Kyaw, Ye Yint Aung, Htet Phyo Wai and Lwin Moe Aung – Popov will definitely have some youngsters with valuable experience to build his side around, along with fellow bright prospects Myat Kaung Khant and Hein Phyo Win.

Photo credit: Myanmar Football Federation

East Bengal in talks with Velizar Popov for vacant head coach role

The Red and Golds are in talks with the Bulgarian to succeed Khalid Jamil as head coach of the club
Vrinda Chopra

What’s the story?
After dismissing Khalid Jamil from the position of the head coach of the club, the authorities at East Bengal are on a hunt to find a replacement for their former coach. The Kolkata giants are amid talks with Bulgarian national, Velizar Popov to take over the job at the club.

In case you didn’t know…
With almost two decades worth of experience in football coaching across the world, Popov makes a highly qualified candidate as Jamil’s successor at East Bengal, and the club would be lucky to have a mind like Velizar’s at their fortress. The 42-year-old has had stints in Europe, Asia and the Middle East – having participated in almost a couple of hundred official games as head coach in international competitions. Popov has also been a part of events such as the AFC Cup, UEFA Europa League, and the Asian World Cup Qualifiers as well.

In January 2013, he was appointed as the manager of Maldivian side, New Radiant SC (NRSC), where he went on to win the domestic championship on an unbeaten run. The manager also guided NRSC to Maldives FA Cup wins as well as the Super Cup Charity Shield, completing the treble for the season.

Heart of the matter
East Bengal have a vacancy at the club for the position of the head coach after sacking Khalid Jamil from the job following his string of poor performances and EB losing out to Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super Cup finale recently. Jamil had also said to have had a tiff with their technical director Mr. Subhash Bhowmick, as the latter refused to work with the then coach.

Sportskeeda has learned that Bulgarian manager Velizar Popov is the leading aspirant to take the coaching position at East Bengal.

What’s next?
Since Popov is available, East Bengal have shown interest in order to acquire his signature for the job. Though, the Kolkata giants are yet to name the man for the head coach role at the club.

Author’s take
Velizar Popov would bring in loads of experience from in and around Asian football. Having tasted so much success in the continent, it will be interesting to see the kind of impact he makes on the East Bengal squad, in a case in which he is appointed as the coach of the club. While the fans wait in anticipation of the appointment of the new coach of the side, Popov will sure be on the radar to be a fan favourite candidate.