November 9, 2017 / 9:11 AM / 4 months ago

Soccer-Bulgaria coach Hubchev handed contract extension

SOFIA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Bulgaria coach Petar Hubchev has been given a two-year contract extension that will keep him in charge through the the 2020 European championship qualifiers.

“No one has come to me to tell me a specific goal but it is clear that, at any cost, we have to try to qualify for the European championship,” the 53-year-old former Bulgaria, Hamburg SV and Eintracht Frankfurt defender told reporters.

Hubchev, a key member of the Bulgaria team that reached the 1994 World Cup semi-finals, replaced Ivaylo Petev in September 2016 but failed to lead the Balkan country to the 2018 World Cup.

Bulgaria finished fourth in their qualifying group with 13 points from 10 matches, 10 points behind France and six points behind Sweden and Netherlands.

Hubchev, who previously coached several Bulgarian clubs, including Slavia Sofia, Botev Plovdiv and Beroe Stara Zagora, has to deal with a hugely demanding and impatient fan base.

“The contracts in football are conditional,” Hubchev said. “My contract is for two years but no one can be sure that I will fulfill it.”

Hubchev, known for his hardline approach to discipline, is Bulgaria’s 10th national coach since Plamen Markov’s sacking after Euro 2004 – the last time the team appeared at the finals of a major tournament.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov

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