Bulgarian NT 2016

  • There are several things we know about the Bulgarian team in 2016 already. First, Plamen Konstantinov will continue to be coach of the team, regardless of the lack of results and wins. Bulgaria enjoyed a decent ECH, but they failed to win the World League's second division and were disastrous in Berlin in January. Injuries are seen as the first excuse for the failure(s), although this is surely not the only reason. Good that Konstantinov admitted that himself. Besides, he is still acting strangely in favour of the same federation he was once fighting against, the same one that almost ruined his career and was going to put him out oj Beijing 2008... Topic closed, he stays, more strange roster choices are expected and perhaps more bad luck. Surprisingly or not, Bulgaria's major success in 2015 was achieved in Baku at the European Games under the guidance of another coach (Nikolay Zhelyazkov).


    Regarding players, Vladimir Nikolov played his last NT match for Bulgaria against Russia at the European qualifiers. He wanted to play against France as well, but was not given the opportunity. We don't know yet what the future of Teodor Salparov in the NT is. We are expecting Tsvetan Sokolov to finally recover and play for the NT in 2016. Meanwhile, Nikolay Nikolov and Todor Aleksiev are said to have requested some rest during the World League. We will perhaps not see them play for the NT in 2016. Aleksiev's case is a curious one. He is rumoured to have been relatively fit for the matches in Berlin in January, but he declined participation because he was not happy with the way the head coach Konstantinov and the volleyball audience reacted in favour of Vlado Nikolov, who was more or less considered the only hero in Bulgaria at the recent ECH and took the otherwise granted to him team captainship. Whether this is true or not, remains a mystery.


    Regarding tournaments, Bulgaria will not play any home matches in 2016 due to the new World League formula. The federation has applied for the European League and there is an idea to form two groups of players this summer as well. One to take part in the World League, the other - probably younger and less experienced, to take part in the European League upon approval by CEV.


    Regarding rankings, I already posted in the World Rankings thread here in the forum that Bulgaria will be the biggest loser in the world at the end of 2016. Semifinalist at the London Games, Bulgaria will be seriously damaged by the lack of points from Rio.


    Regarding focus, there is nothing really more important in Bulgarian volleyball now than to slowly prepare a team for the WCH at home and in Italy in 2018. Unfortunately, we need youngsters to integrate into the national team as fast as possible in order to recover the lost positions in rankings and tournaments. I am afraid there are tough times approaching Bulgarian volleyball. The missed Olympics is just the start of a circle I hope our volleyball would one day recover from.

  • Miroslav Zhivkov, currently head coach of Dobrduzha 07 and formerly coach of Pirin, has been announced as the head coach of Bulgaria's B team that will compete at the European League this summer. I can't say he is a much better option than Nikolay Zhelyazkov, but perhaps he might make a slight difference.

  • Vladimir Nikolov will end his professional career, both on national and club level, with a friendly show match between the national team and his friends in May in Sofia. He was chosen to be the head coach of the Bulgarian U20 NT that will host this year's ECH in Bulgaria.


    Definitely one of the best opposites the game has seen.

  • The Bulgarian team that is likely to take part in the Hubert Wagner Memorial in Krakow.


    Setters: Georgi Seganov, Lyubomir Agontsev
    Opposites: Spas Bayrev, Tsvetan Sokolov
    OHs: Nikolay Penchev, Todor Skrimov, Rozalin Penchev, Dimitar Marinkov, Metodi Ananiev, Miroslav Gradinarov
    MBs: Alex Grozdanov, Teodor Todorov, Svetoslav Gotsev, Viktor Yosifov
    Liberos: Vladislav Ivanov, Martin Bozhilov


    Opponents there will be Poland, Serbia, and Belgium.

  • Did Zhekov and Salparov retire in the national team?
    The opposites of Bulgarian NT ...

    My favourite roster of Chinese
    male NT:
    S - Li Run-ming, Zhan Guo-jun
    OP - Dai Qing-yao, Jiang Chuan
    OH - Ji Dao-shuai, Xia Run-tao, Liu Li-bin, Zhang Chen
    MB - Zhang Zhe-jia, Chen Long-hai, Geng Xin
    L - Ren Qi


    female NT:
    S - Ding Xia, Yao Di
    OP - Gong Xiang-yu, Zhang Chang-ning
    OH - Hui Ruo-qi, Zhu Ting, Liu Xiao-tong, Li Jing
    MB - Yuan Xin-yue, Yan Ni, Xu Yun-li
    L - Lin Li


    My avatar is Jiang Chuan. I hope more persons love him.

  • Did Zhekov and Salparov retire in the national team?
    The opposites of Bulgarian NT ...

    Zhekov has retired, Salparov will probably take a break but his future in the NT is still unknown. I think he might be back next season eventually or maybe at the end of this one, who knows. About the opposites, we needed some fresh blood. Sokolov's return should be no surprise. I wanted to see Chernokozhev here, I hope he will get a chance either in the WL or in the European League. Miroslav Zhivkov, his head coach in Dobrudzha, the new champion, will lead the team in the EL, so I hope Chernokozhev will play there unless Konstantinov gives him a chance with the senior team. Velizar is a better player overall than Spas Bayrev, the newcomer. I last watched Bayrev last year, his technique was far from impressive. This season he has turned into a scoring machine, but I haven't watched him since and I can't say much about his improvement. I doubt he could be as efficient as Chernokozhev, however.

  • I don't see Bayrev as the biggest problem in this squad :whistle: With Seganov and Agontsev this Bulgaria can't cope even with mediocre teams like The Netherlands, Belgium or Finland IMO. I remember Agontsev from ECH, he isn't player which can make difference. Seganov is a mystery to me, he was far from impressive on Junior ECH in Gdynia and it's surprising to see him in NT as 2nd setter :aww: Where is Dimitrov ?


    Grozdanov is MB? I thought he is OH ?( Aleksiev? Probably resting or?


    I'm predicting a lot of problems to Bulgaria with these players. Doubt Lions can make good result in WL this summer

  • I don't see Bayrev as the biggest problem in this squad :whistle: With Seganov and Agontsev this Bulgaria can't cope even with mediocre teams like The Netherlands, Belgium or Finland IMO. I remember Agontsev from ECH, he isn't player which can make difference. Seganov is a mystery to me, he was far from impressive on Junior ECH in Gdynia and it's surprising to see him in NT as 2nd setter :aww: Where is Dimitrov ?


    Grozdanov is MB? I thought he is OH ?( Aleksiev? Probably resting or?


    I'm predicting a lot of problems to Bulgaria with these players. Doubt Lions can make good result in WL this summer


    They won't play against any of the teams mentioned :) As I said, Bulgaria won't even play any serious tournament this summer, we only have World League games. I expect Georgi Bratoev to return until then. It is not a public secret that Konstantinov doesn't like to rely on people with little game time, hence he omitted Georgi Bratoev in this list because he has barely appeared for Trentino. He criticized Resovia this week as they, according to Konstantinov, deliberately put Penchev on the bench due to his refusal to sign a new contract. However, Penchev is in the initial list. After all, this is just a friendly tournament and I would expect (hopefully) at least one change for the World League - Georgi Bratoev's return. Also, regarding setters, Konstantinov is a huge fan of Agontsev, perhaps one of the very few. This is why I said in my first post in this thread that weird choices are to be anticipated from the head coach.


    My personal opinion is that Bulgaria, theoretically speaking, could handle the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and the likes with Agontsev. But once again, we would be way more calm if Bratoev is present, not Seganov. It is a nation-wide mystery why they keep calling CSKA's playmaker, he hasn't shown even the slightest progress since his promoton to senior volleyball. Seganov was the one Konstantinov invited as a tourist (OK, as the 14th member) at the 2014 WCH instead of taking an additional and healthy MB if you remember. I presume they keep calling him up because he is a good kid but this is everything else but professional and there is no rational volleyball evidence why Seganov is again inside such a list. Let alone the fact that there are better setters in the local league.


    No one has any information about Dobromir Dimitrov. His case is similar to Bratoev's, though.


    No, this is Alex Grozdanov, not Branimir Grozdanov, the OH. Alex is a MB, coming from Levski's academy and a recent champion with Dobrudzha. Todor Aleksiev is taking the summer off.


    To conclude, Bulgaria won't have important matches this summer, so everyone is fine with Konstantinov's improvisations. I might even take more interest in the B team's European League campaign.

  • Full list of 35 players who are going to represent Bulgaria at the World League and the European League:


    Setters: Lyubomir Agontsev, Georgi Manchev, Dobromir Dimitrov, Chono Penchev, Georgi Seganov
    Opposites: Tsvetan Sokolov, Spas Bayrev, Velizar Chernokozhev, Zhani Zhelyazkov
    OHs: Miroslav Gradinarov, Nikolay Penchev, Rozalin Penchev, Branimir Grozdanov, Zlatko Kyossev, Zlatan Yordanov, Dimitar Marinkov, Metodi Ananiev, Martin Atanasov, Todor Skrimov, Trifon Lapkov, Yavor Genov, Yani Georgiev
    MBs: Viktor Yosifov, Teodor Todorov, Alex Grozdanov, Georgi Chalakov, Ivan Latunov, Krasimir Georgiev, Nikolay Kartev, Svetoslav Gotsev
    Liberos: Vladislav Ivanov, Martin Bozhilov, Dobromir Ivanov, Petar Karakashev, Hristo Kolev


    After the retirement of Vlado Nikolov and with the absence of Todor Aleksiev, Viktor Yosifov will be Bulgaria's new captain. Georgi Bratoev is the big name missing. We know about the rest, many of the people you would expect are taking the summer off, including Uchikov, Nikolay Nikolov, Salparov. Rumours say Georgi Bratoev might not get another NT invitation, I hope this is just hearsay. Setters will be Bulgaria's biggest problem. Georgi Manchev is someone who should step in alongside Dimitrov and Agontsev, and even Chono Penchev but it is too early for the latter, but Manchev is having problems with a meniscus right now and it remains doubtful if he would be fully available.


    Do tell if you need more information regarding any of the new players called up.

  • After the show dedicated to Vlado Nikolov's career end in Sofia yesterday, Georgi Bratoev stated in an interview that he cannot give anything more to the national team while Konstantinov is the head coach. Also, he is clearly not satisfied with his twin brother's absence which most probably is the pure reason for his decision. This was new information to me as well and, while subject to everyone's own interpretation, it means that he will not play for the NT soon.

  • Bulgaria's 21-men roster for the World League:


    Setters: Lyubomir Agontsev, Dobromir Dimitrov, Georgi Seganov, Georgi Manchev
    Opposites: Tsvetan Sokolov, Miroslav Gradinarov
    OHs: Branimir Grozdanov, Dimitar Marinkov, Metodi Ananiev, Nikolay Penchev, Rozalin Penchev, Todor Skrimov, Trifon Lapkov
    MBs: Viktor Yosifov, Alex Grozdanov, Krasimir Georgiev, Teodor Todorov, Svetoslav Gotsev
    Liberos: Martin Bozhilov, Vladislav Ivanov, Dobromir Ivanov


    Obviously Konstantinov plans to play with Sokolov all the time and without a real back-up opposite.

  • :drink:


    Fully agree with everything author wrote. Since Plamen took over Bulgaria won only 4th place on ECH, as he is saying "80% due public & 20% due Vlado Nikolov". Stories about restoring team are verbiage as we say in Croatia :D I think you wrote about players that are in NT just to get contract abroad and Seganov's call is on this track. Also Agontsev. Dunno what happened with Bratoev brothers but we can only guess. IMO they wouldn't take part in Plamen's farce. Where is Nikolay Nikolov? Kaziyski's case is already forgotten and I've to say future isn't bright. Just hoping they'll beat Australia in Dallas but that's also questionable

  • Fully agree with everything author wrote. Since Plamen took over Bulgaria won only 4th place on ECH, as he is saying "80% due public & 20% due Vlado Nikolov". Stories about restoring team are verbiage as we say in Croatia :D I think you wrote about players that are in NT just to get contract abroad and Seganov's call is on this track. Also Agontsev. Dunno what happened with Bratoev brothers but we can only guess. IMO they wouldn't take part in Plamen's farce. Where is Nikolay Nikolov? Kaziyski's case is already forgotten and I've to say future isn't bright. Just hoping they'll beat Australia in Dallas but that's also questionable

    I have to say several things here, some I have commented already but anyways. I am not saying everything the author described in the article is true but I agree with most points and you can read similar opinions of mine here on our forum throughout the past months. However, one of the things I disagree with is the underestimation of the team's ECH performance. I am sorry, I cannot agree that Bulgaria's fourth place was due 80% to the home factor. I would say 50% and not more than that. The Bulgarian team needed home support for sure, the rest of the work was done by the team and its staff. Vlado Nikolov surely wasn't the only one contributing to reaching the semis. Nikolay Penchev, Todor Aleksiev, the two middles, even Bratoev and Vladi Ivanov, the second libero, had a massive impact and Bulgaria played its part well. You can't say Bulgaria almost beat France thanks to the home factor only. Just to get his arguments on Konstantinov, the author Lafityan dug into the water well way deeper than necessary in order to construct his reasoning. I would leave the ECH conjecture aside and focus on the rest, for they are not things we don't see or haven't written about.


    Yes, there used to be managerial games in the NT when Konstantinov first took the role. I can only hope this is no longer the case. Yes, there are still names whose NT presence rises tons of questions but this time I believe the pure reason is that, after the afforementioned players took the summer off, we just don't have that many quality replacements and Konstantinov invited most he could find in Bulgaria. Now, why exactly these players are given court time and on what ground they are preferred to others is another discussion to which the head coach has his beliefs. I really don't think it is a matter of interests this time but rather Konstantinov's own, albeit weird at times, thinking.


    Valentin Bratoev was never liked by Konstantinov. Nothing has been released in the media about the "scandal", although all parts involved deny such a "scandal". Georgi Bratoev had to do things for the team's benefit (rightfully so), as far as I know, to get his place in the team. He either got fed up or, as I think, reacted negatively because he won't be playing with his twin brother anyways. You should know that all mentioned till now are persons with some vision of their own and they probably can't work together. The Bratoev brothers might come back when Konstantinov gets fired or, more probably, resigns.


    Nikolay Nikolov took the summer off. I don't think his decision is based on scandals but there is no proof of that. Besides, as I wrote, it IS the perfect summer for most of the experienced NT members to get some rest and I don't mind them doing so. I only hope the ones with attitude against the head coach, assuming such players exist because it is all theoretical now, will cool off, reconsider and return next year.