Bulgarian Men's NT 2019

  • Silvano Prandi announced his wide roster for the 2019 season.


    Setters: Georgi Bratoev (Neftochimik 2010), Georgi Seganov (Maliye Milli Piyango), Chono Penchev (Marek Union-Ivkoni), Vladimir Stankov (CSKA)

    Opposites: Tsvetan Sokolov (Cucine Lube Civitanova), Nikolay Uchikov (Neftochimik 2010), Velizar Chernokozhev (Dobrudzha 07), Radoslav Parapunov (Hawaii University / CSKA)

    OHs: Nikolay Penchev (ONICO Warszawa), Valentin Bratoev (JTEKT Stings), Todor Skrimov (Tonno Callipo Vibo Valentia), Rozalin Penchev (SESC), Todor Aleksiev (Olympiacos), Martin Atanasov (Chaumont), Plamen Shekerdzhiev (CSKA), Georgi Petrov (Neftochimik 2010), Asparuh Asparuhov (Montana), Gordan Lyutskanov (Levski)

    MBs: Viktor Yosifov (Vero Volley Monza), Nikolay Nikolov (Sporting Lisbon), Svetoslav Gotsev (Dinamo-LO), Teodor Todorov (Neftochimik 2010), Krasimir Georgiev (Rennes), Alex Grozdanov (Greenyard Maaseik), Nikolay Kolev (Cherno more)

    Liberos: Teodor Salparov (Neftochimik 2010), Vladislav Ivanov, Martin Ivanov (Neftochimik 2010), Petar Karakashev (Hebar), Ivaylo Lalov (Levski)

  • The Bulgarian volleyball has started a new, second period with Errea as a technical partner. The first one started and ended with Stoychev's tenure as NT coach. He usually works gladly with the Italian sportswear company, now a series of internal decisions by the federation (clearly a game of personal interests) resulted in ending the supply from Asics.


    Here's how the 2019 outfits look like (source: dnevnik.bg):


    zx860_3906317.jpg

  • The 2019 VNL 25-man squad:


    Setters: Georgi Bratoev (Neftochimik 2010), Georgi Seganov (Maliye Milli Piyango), Chono Penchev (Marek Union-Ivkoni), Vladimir Stankov (CSKA)

    Opposites: Tsvetan Sokolov (Cucine Lube Civitanova), Nikolay Uchikov (Neftochimik 2010), Velizar Chernokozhev (Dobrudzha 07), Radoslav Parapunov (Hawaii University / CSKA)

    OHs: Nikolay Penchev (ONICO Warszawa), Valentin Bratoev (JTEKT Stings), Todor Skrimov (Tonno Callipo Vibo Valentia), Rozalin Penchev (SESC), Martin Atanasov (Chaumont), Plamen Shekerdzhiev (CSKA)

    MBs: Viktor Yosifov (Vero Volley Monza), Nikolay Nikolov (Sporting Lisbon), Svetoslav Gotsev (Dinamo-LO), Teodor Todorov (Neftochimik 2010), Krasimir Georgiev (Rennes), Alex Grozdanov (Greenyard Maaseik), Nikolay Kolev (Cherno more)

    Liberos: Teodor Salparov (Neftochimik 2010), Vladislav Ivanov, Martin Ivanov (Neftochimik 2010), Petar Karakashev (Hebar)


    4 OHs and a libero have been dropped out. These are Todor Aleksiev, Georgi Petrov, Asparuh Asparuhov, Gordan Lyutskanov, and Ivaylo Lalov.

  • Polish newspaper reported that Silviano Prandi removed 6 players from NT, these names are: Bratoev brothers, Nikolay Uchikov, Vlasidlav Ivanov, Nikolay Nikolov and Teodor Todorov. Reason were bad relations between coach and players.

  • Polish newspaper reported that Silviano Prandi removed 6 players from NT, these names are: Bratoev brothers, Nikolay Uchikov, Vlasidlav Ivanov, Nikolay Nikolov and Teodor Todorov. Reason were bad relations between coach and players.

    That was the initial information, correct. However, Teodor Todorov is in the wide list of players Prandi will practice with and choose from for the Olympic qualifer. The list:


    S: Seganov, Stankov, D. Dimitrov

    OPP: Sokolov, Parapunov, Kadankov

    OH: Skrimov, N. Penchev, R. Penchev, Atanasov, Shekerdzhiev, G. Petrov

    MB: Yosifov, Gotsev, Todorov, A. Grozdanov, Georgiev

    L: Salparov, M. Ivanov, Karakashev


    Prandi knows best what the form and the motivation of his players are, hence I trust his judgement. He has introduced some important players to the NT during his previous tenure (Sokolov and Yosifov, for instance), or retired those he didn't need (Konstantinov). I know that his vision is not just the qualifier in Varna but also the next 1-2 seasons. A squad rejuvenation is not the worst idea ever. However, Seganov alone is clearly not enough, Bulgaria will struggle on that position. Nikolov might've helped, too, although his constant injuries could've created trouble. Obviously, Prandi needs 3 new faces to test more intensively during the next month. Petrov doesn't have enough experience and will surely be cut off. Dimitrov was never a great setter, so his selection is a slight surprise (I hope he gets cut off, too). And we arrive to the greatest surprise of the year for the NT - Kadankov. Why the hell Prandi called up the useless, long-forgotten freaking Kadankov?!? A guy who never was a decent volleyball player. The only reason is for Prandi to test him, but why Kadankov? Not that he has a chance of replacing Parapunov, but still...


    The reasons for the decision to cut the more experienced ones are said to be purely sports-technical. I don't think there are issues inside the team.

  • Hi YavorD , just curious, after the defeat against Brazil in Olympic qualies, what's the main consensus of the fans and players in Bulgaria? I was really rooting for them, but Brazil really had the experience in those critical moments. Too bad for Sokolov, I think this was his last shot at the Olympics as I don't see him in NT for 2024.

  • Hi YavorD , just curious, after the defeat against Brazil in Olympic qualies, what's the main consensus of the fans and players in Bulgaria? I was really rooting for them, but Brazil really had the experience in those critical moments. Too bad for Sokolov, I think this was his last shot at the Olympics as I don't see him in NT for 2024.

    It was a painful defeat and everyone knows beating Brazil was the only chance for Bulgaria to reach the Olympics. It is clear Bulgaria has close to 0 chances of winning the January qualifier for a variety of reasons. Fans reacted differently to the defeat. Some were understandably disappointed, to say the least. Some were quite happy with the progress shown. Some welcomed the performance of the younger generation under the guidance of a well-prepared coach. People demonstrated a mixture of feelings and it is normal in such situation. Very little came from the players in the media, they will surely regret missing the golden chance, throwing away months of work almost in vain, and will play this match again set by set many times in their heads. This might affect their confidence at the ECH, preparation should start soon. The only thing everyone hopes for is Skrimov's fast recovery. Latest news reports that he has nothing broken, although his ECH participation is threatened.


    As for me, I was sure Prandi would've done his homework and the team would use the momentum in Varna. Honestly, I questioned Brazil's motivation for the match, given that their eventual South American qualifier would be a joke. Brazil didn't even show 10% in the first 2 sets, hence I didn't know whether they would fight at all. Well, 3 sets later we knew the answer. They just hadn't really been there, whereas Bulgaria had a lot of elements functioning well enough. Skrimov's injury disrupted Bulgaria's rhythm. Yes, Bulgaria still won the second set and even if Rozalin Penchev had a few decent moments, Skrimov's absence unbalanced the squad and his contribution in reception, attack, and serve was dearly missed. True, Brazil smelled blood and insecurity from the third set on. However, I would still question Bulgaria's place at the Olympics had they won the match anyways. What the Federation and the governement have been trying to do isn't going to help Bulgarian volleyball in the long run. Paying to organize tournaments and qualifiers is a way to mask the problems for them. Let's face it, right now Bulgaria wouldn't stand many chances against many teams in a different or neutral country, hence paying to organize an event and therefore expecting the crowd to add what the team lacks is some sick way to still claim Bulgaria might be up there with the rest. This is what also most people, fans, and pundits define as the main problem, thus not giving it more importance that it deserves - we'll just miss another Olympics.


    See, to me, Serbia missing the Olympics would be a bigger problem for the world of volleyball, although Serbia really didn't impress in Bari. Whereas Bulgaria showed signs of life under Prandi who needs some more time.


    Sokolov would be 34 at the end of the next Olympic cycle, so I won't say he won't have another shot yet.

  • The decline of Bulgarian volleyball has been discussed before and we saw it coming, still no one believed this team will disassemble so soon. No need to mention that only two months after Bulgaria had a match point against Brazil and held the Olympic quota in one hand, there is a massive public dissatisfaction, to put it mildly, against the lack of fighting spirit inside the squad, the results, the current head coach, and his decisions. I talked earlier about the psychological burden succeeding this defeat in Varna, here it goes now.


    This is their worst ECH (11th place) since 1987. They will also have to play qualifiers (for the 2021 edition) for the first time since 2008 (for the 2009 ECH). Playing qualifiers is not that bad, actually, for rebuilding the squad, they desperately need more matches. And against all kinds of opponents. Bulgaria no longer has a lot of quality players, they have suffered mostly defeats in bigger matches in recent years and they started losing to mid-class teams, too, so you can see the downtrend. A simple look back to the past 4-5 seasons shows us the list of more important wins they have scored - 1 against Poland (VNL), 2 against Brazil (VNL), 1 against France (VNL). Plus, 2 or 3 more against Canada (VNL) and Iran (2018 WCH, second attempt) from the near-the-top teams. And none in a major tournament. You see the full picture now. It confirms the decline, it shows Bulgarian volleyball needs urgent and big changes, and it shows why they don't even stand a chance in the January qualifier. The last time Bulgaria beat Italy, Russia, Serbia, USA, or France (forget this year's VNL training match) Matey Kaziyski was still a NT member.


    As much as I respect and like Silvano Prandi, I can't really defend him or his decisions this year. A lot of experiments, no results, strange selection of players, and almost no communication with the team during matches. Why even bother speaking English with them (his English is quite bad but he learned a few words nevertheless) when most play or have played in Italy? No real actions were taken when Bulgaria lost to North Macedonia and Belgium in friendlies before the ECH, and those were the last warning signs if for some reason we/he ignored the VNL massacres. Bulgaria started well some matches, never had a plan B because either the tactics, the motivation, or the bench weren't/wasn't there. Travelled to France and Slovenia with 2 tourists (Kadankov and the young Petrov) and a never really convincing and out-of-form second setter (Dimitrov), whereas some of his more experienced and needed fighters were watching the games at home. Yes, he insisted rightfully on Atanasov, A. Gorzdanov and K. Georgiev (VNL only), for they will play in the NT in the years to come, but that was it really. And 3 great sets against Brazil. Well, Prandi failed big time and he is to blame for at least 50% of the 2019 disaster. Even the Bratoev twins (Prandi introduced Valentin more seriously to the NT during his first tenure with the NT) turned against him and criticized him openly on social media.


    That the federation members all have to go is clear, as they are the main culprits for the decline that is yet to come. But we know this won't happen.


    Salparov might've played his last match with NT against Slovenia. He'll eventually reconsider only for the January qualifier if in form and needed, but that will be it. Victor Yosifov is considering NT retirement, too. Sokolov will surely skip the 2020 VNL, the only tournament for Bulgaria next summer. Where they will again fight hard against relegation, regardless of whether Prandi stays or not.

  • I'm not YavorD but I think Bulgaria is not in the position to negotiate anything. Either they get a damn better coach willing to risk his reputation to deal with all this drama, or hope for a miracle in Berlin.

    That would be the best choice, but I suppose Prandi has a valid contract and if they fire him, they will have to pay him a compensation of several hundreds of €.

  • https://www.ivolleymagazine.it…terani-esclusi-in-estate/


    According to this article, Prandi will continue being the coach of Bulgaria if he calls back Bratoev twins, Uchikov, Nikolov and Ivanov.


    What do you think YavorD ?

    If I were Prandi, I would quit immediately. He shouldn't have returned to coach the NT whose federation made him a fool the last time in the first place, but I will finally make piece with that fact (that he agreed to return for some wild reason). The Bulgarian Federation can demand whatever they want, however, it is their job only to plan and judge based on progress/results or whatever, and not to intervene with the coach's decisions, for he takes full responsibility for the selection. This ultimatum is a clear intervention and no self-respecting coach/person should ever accept it. bvolley is probably right, they didn't fire him only because there might be a compensation clause in the contract, knowing in advance what happened the last time around, or to any coach who doesn't accept interventions, for that matter. With this federation, you should always read between the lines.


    Of course, the federation members are the first that have to go, but let's not open this topic again. I would like Prandi to stay long term and I want to him to have both the time and the freedom to make his own choices. I didn't like many of his actions/decisions in 2019 but to not include the rejected players for the major tournaments is actually something I almost completely agree with (as the majority of volleyball fans whose opinions I came across, by the way, the Bratoev brothers aren't quite popular). I just wouldn't call Kadankov, Dimitrov, and the young Petrov instead, to start with. Parapunov was a must, in my opinion, to give an example.


    Anyway, Bulgaria won't qualify under these circumstances (destructive Olympic qualifer in January) regardless of whether there is Prandi, the Bratoev brothers, Niki Nikolov, Uchikov, Sokolov, etc. This is self-created drama diverting the public focus away from the real problems (trademark for Bulgarian governors). Which are that Bulgarian volleyball needs a brand new structure and people. Instead, the Federation wants people to believe that Bulgaria will dominate world volleyball if we change player A with player B and coach A with coach B.

  • What the hell? I'd quit if I were Prandi to show them who's the boss.


    Bulgaria were this close 👌 to qualifying to an olympic berth against Brazil. Shit happens all the time when you're playing against the olympic champion. They choked. It's that simple.


    For the ECH. I have to agree with YavorD's assessment on Prandi's personnel choices but then... this team wasn't meant for a podium finish even if you include the players he suspended from playing in ECH.

    Favorite players: M: Maxim Mikhaylov, Murilo, Serginho, Aaron Russell, Otavio, Simone Giannelli, Ivan Zaytsev, Tsvetan Sokolov, Michał Kubiak, Mariusz Wlazly, Pawel Zagummy W: Sheilla, Zhu Ting, Natalia, Fe Garay, Fofao, Gabi, Thaisa, Foluke Akinradewo, Wei Qiuyue, Ding Xia, Carli Lloyd, Fabi, Natalia Goncharova, Yuko Sano, Saoris Kimura and Sakoda