The coach of the Bulgarian futsal champion Amigo North-West, Delyan Koichev, as well as the captain and playing assistant coach of the team, Vladimir Bakharov, gave a special interview to Gong.bg.
In it, they talked about the country’s title win last season, the upcoming debut of the team in the SHL, as well as the problems of Bulgarian futsal.
– Hello, I say good day to the futsal coach of Amigo, champion of Bulgaria, as well as to Vladimir Bakharov, who is the assistant coach and captain of the team. How are you, boys?
DK: We are very well, we are very excited about our participation in the SHL, we are still happy that we are champions of Bulgaria and champions of Sofia. We are looking forward to going to Austria.
Vl: Absolutely yes, I confirm the words of the senior coach. The boys are in high spirits, enthusiastic. We have prepared relatively well, so we have all the prerequisites to perform well.
– I’m going to take you back a bit to last season. What was the leading factor that laid the foundation for this title win?
DK: The main factor for winning the title, in my opinion, is the team and the strong players we have in the team. For me, this is the most important thing, other things don’t matter. Sometimes there can be a very strong team without any money and without any sponsors, just like friends and a team. For me, the most important thing is strong football players.
Vl: He took the words out of my mouth. For me, too, the team was really the leading factor, through it we managed to achieve this goal.
– How great was the success against the Black Sea, actually because you stopped the Varna hegemony, if I can call it that?
Vl: Yes, it is true, we know that over the years Varna has performed quite well, they have really achieved a serious hegemony and we are very happy. It was extremely difficult for us against both Varna teams both in the semi-final matches and in the final match. Made it 2 out of 3 wins in both playoffs. So it was extremely difficult really, but it’s maybe more valuable and more real that way. It was hard, but we did it.
– What is the mood in the team before the upcoming participation in the SHL?
DK: Everyone is pretty excited and they’re looking forward to it too. The mood is very good, now we have played two controls with the Greek champions, in one we won and in the other we lost, but we performed quite well, quite strongly and everyone is looking forward to them too and in a very good mood. Everything is fine, we have new gear, no injuries and knock on wood everything is fine.
– You preempted my question, I was going to ask you about the checks with Dukas, how important were they, because I know this is a pretty serious team?
DK: Vladi and I discussed that it is very important to make at least two very strong controls, with some very strong opponent. We did a few controls here in Sofia, against CSKA, against FKG and against Levski as well, which were useful. We also used the new players in them, because we have several new boys. We also used the old footballers. The more experienced played less. With the Greek champions, the aim was to play mainly the players who are experienced, who will play mainly in Austria. I think it was extremely useful for us, so to speak, we raised the level slightly. We faced a very strong team, the Greeks are really a very strong opponent, they have 7 national players, 3 Brazilians and they have a huge organization, they train twice a day, a very strong team. We are very pleased to have achieved these results.
Vl: This was a dress rehearsal before what is ahead of us in a few days.
– Do you think that this season your team is stronger compared to the one that defeated Black Sea in the final last year?
Vl: I personally think so. With the additions we’ve made, I think we’ve really raised the bar and that’s what we’re aiming for. We want to develop each competitor individually and collectively grow as a team. I think we are on the right track.
DK: Now we are much more confident because we became champions. From the beginning, we couldn’t be like that, because we had gathered different football players from different teams, we had no preparation, neither tactical nor physical. Now we are much more confident and I think that is much better for us.
– The teams of Fortuna, Gentofte, Pif Saltairis are present in your group in the SHL. Who do you consider the most serious rival?
DK: So, the Danish champions are an extremely strong team, they typically rely on a power play for a Scandinavian team, they don’t have many technical players to make feints, but they play very aggressively and with a lot of power. For sure we will have a very strong match with them and a big fight, I don’t know if we can do it, we will try. We haven’t learned anything about the other team that is the host, and we don’t know, because they sold their strongest player Vitinho, who is also an Armenian national, to AEK Greece, and they took 4 or 5 new players. They took two Brazilians, the captain of Bosnia and Herzegovina, they took a Serbian, and separately they also have other foreign footballers. In reality, they are currently playing around with their lineup and we have no idea what level they will be at.
Last thing to say about the Scottish champion, as we know them more or less. They played with the National Team and Vladi can say more.
Vl: Yes, a lot of the guys who are in the Scotland national team are also in this team, so we have an idea. As the head coach said, the Danes for me are the favorites in the group, and the Austrians are also not to be underestimated, and even the Scots.
DK: Just to add, the Danes are 8 times champions of their country and have 12 national players and the coach of the club team himself leads the national team, which means in practice that we will be playing against the Danish national team.
– Do you think that this group would be preliminaries for you?
Vl: Personally, yes, otherwise there is no point in going. It will be difficult, maybe it is clear to everyone, but I believe in this thing and we will do our best to continue, come what may.
DK: I also consider it to be a challenge, even though we will go up against experienced teams, those with traditions and successes. We have to go in confident that we can win. Especially after these two controls, in which it was seen that at least physically we are quite well.
– You are quite a young team, did you expect to win the title before the start of last season?
DK: We came together hastily and by accident, and our original goal was to win the regional championship. Appetite, however, comes with eating, as we became champions of Sofia, subsequently our goal became to be champions of Bulgaria as well. Of course, it was very difficult, because the Varna teams are composed of very experienced and good competitors. There are two or three guys who are at a very high level with a lot of experience and quality and the fact that they were split into different teams was a bad joke for them. They didn’t have enough preparation and training and we were able to fight them.
Vl: I can only add that at the beginning of the season no one had set us goals or any ultimatums to become champions at any cost. In general, as the head coach said, we became the champions of Sofia and “the appetite came with the meal”.
– Futsal is not a very popular sport in Bulgaria, what advice would you give so that this sport can be popularized more and be at a higher level in the country?
Vl: The main thing, which is, in my opinion, should be started with serious advertising, a serious restart of the entire structure of organizing championships of the national team. A revolution must be made. Very serious advertising, to start thinking about children’s and youth schools, tournaments, exchange of experience between different countries, attending seminars, coaches, in general, this should be thought about. Naturally, the road is very long and a lot of patience, funds and organization are needed, but without this thing there is no way to develop any sport. Not only in Bulgaria, but wherever it was, so I think these are the key things that should be emphasized. We hope in the face of our team that this will happen in the future, we also try to help in whatever way we can. The role of the clubs themselves in Bulgaria is very important, no matter how many there are and which cities they are from, their role is extremely important in popularizing this sport. I’ve always said that the coaches are always the biggest bearers of this thing, they have to pass it on to their players as well as to the kids fans and in general. So basically that’s what I think should happen.
DK: I can add that futsal is a magic and a great sport, and that in Bulgaria it reaches very few people, I don’t know why, maybe because of the advertising, maybe because of this promotion of mini-football, you know that there are hundreds if not thousands of teams in Bulgaria in mini-football, which can also be directed to futsal, because they have the organization, an almost professional organization, as for a big team. They have their presidents, they have their equipment, some even take premiums, they have everything, they just have to go to futsal to see this magic, because they are already captivated by the magic of mini football, mini football and futsal are almost the same. It’s just a slightly more serious organization for futsal.
– To finish our conversation – where do you think your team can reach in the SHL in the upcoming season, and do you have a goal set for it, because you already said about the past that you didn’t have one?
Vl: No, so first of all we want to perform as well as possible in Austria in the SHL, of course our goal is to qualify, if it doesn’t happen there won’t be any problems or any upheavals with the case, we move on. The other thing that I think is very important is that we don’t really have any injuries, this is quite important, because after that life goes on, accordingly we will continue our training process. Specifically for the next season we have not set ourselves any goals, we want to pass the group stage of the preliminary round in the SHL first, depending on our performance our program may change, if we qualify further we will have other matches to plan, if not we rank our schedule will be different, so we don’t have any goals set for next season at the moment. We have focused on a good performance in the SHL.
DK: We don’t have specific goals, we are not a professional team chasing any specific goals, by default, the goal is to be champions again in Sofia and Bulgaria and we hope to raise the level of futsal in Bulgaria, in general. Along with our team and besides that we are getting better at being useful to other teams like Levski, CSKA, FKG. Hopefully our success will inspire others. If there are no strong teams in futsal, there will be no strong championship.
Author: Bozhidar Mladenov