Eric Abrams Reference Letter / Recommendation


MFF Myanmar Football Federation Eric Abrams ex-Technical Director

To Whom It May Concern:

Mr. Velizar Popov, since January 2019 appointed as the MFF U23 National Team Coach at Myanmar Football Federation and now preparing the new generation U23s for the Sea Games 2021 after a very successful Sea Games 2019 in the Philippines rewarded with a bronze medal behind finalists Vietnam and Indonesia.

When I internationally advertised the job vacancy at MFF, Mr. Velizar Popov was amongst a 100 of candidates the one, who impressed in his overall knowledge of international football and the latest tendencies. He showed a very professional way of approaching players as a coach. Having experienced in Asia different professional environments, he understands well how cultures can have impact on player and team performances and what’s the best way to lead them. His football approach is ingrained by a very positive playing philosophy, wherein possession of the ball is critical to play a good brand of football and to be successful.

Further I experienced that his way of acting is meticulous and consistent, which impacted the U23 Myanmar National Team performances very positively and guaranteed progress in every game. Important underlying factors for his achievements are his good eye for potential talented players, his game-analysis and his quality to transfer to effective practical sessions, which made the players easy to understand the objectives and applying the playing principles. Finally on the basis of the success was a clear strategy plan, taking in account all factors and good corporation with his coaching staff. Aiming the highest professional approach, he understood in the same time the limits of the MFF and always managed this in a positive way. I appreciated Velizar’s open and also positive critical mindset, which was always looking for improvement as a coach, and looking further than only the result.

I can profoundly recommend Mr. Velizar Popov as a professional coach for professional Senior Club Teams, Senior and U23 National Teams.

Sincere regards,

Eric Abrams

Charyl Chappuis-Velizar Popov is the best coach I have worked with in Thailand Premier League

Myanmar preliminary squad for AFF U-22 Championship 2019 announced

Myanmar preliminary squad for AFF U-22 Championship 2019 announced

The Myanmar Football Federation has announced the preliminary list of players selected for its U-22 national team that will participate in the AFF U-22 Championship 2019.

The championship is scheduled to be held form February 17 to 26 in Cambodia with eight ASEAN nations fighting it out for the youth title.

Myanmar are pooled with hosts Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia in Group B while Group A will consist of Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Timor-Leste.

Top two teams from each group will qualify for the semifinals followed by the final to be held at the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium on February 26.

Myanmar will be lining up at the AFF tournament under new coach Velizar Popov — the Bulgarian who has previous experiences at Suphanburi FC, Kelantan FA and Sisaket FC.

Myanmar preliminary squad for the AFF U-22 Championship 2019

Goalkeepers: Phone Thitsar Min (Shan United), Sann Sat Naing (Yangon United), Soe Arkar (Magwe FC), Tu Nanda Oo (Myawady FC)

Defenders: Win Moe Kyaw (Magwe FC), Soe Moe Kyaw (Ayawady United), Aung Wunna Soe (Zwekapin United), Ye Yint Aung (Yadanarbon FC), Hloo Khant Lwin (Yangon United), Thu Rein Soe (Yangon United), Ye Min Thu (Shan United), Zin Ye Naung (ISPE), Hein Phyo Win (Shan United)

Midfielders: Nan Hitke Zaw (Ayawady United), Lwin Moe Aung (Ayawady United), Zayar Naing (Magwe FC), Myat Kaung Khant (Yadanarbon FC), Aung Naing Win (Yadanarbon FC), Myat Htun Thit (Magwe FC), Zin Min Tun (Magwe FC), Zwe Thet Paing (Shan United), Aung Ko Oo (MFF U-19), Zaw Min Thein (MFF U-19)

Forwards: Hein Htet Aung (Hantharwady United), Htet Phyoe Wai (Shan United), Win Naing Tun (Yadanarbon FC), Kaung Htet Soe (Yangon United), Hlwan Moe Oo (Yangon United)

Head coach: Velizar Popov
Assistant coaches: Chit Naing, Soe Myat Min

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.