Ivan Petkov was appointed head coach of the Bulgarian women’s national team. By the decision of the Administration Board of the Bulgarian Volleyball Federation, made on Wednesday, the 41-year-old specialist replaces Ivan Seferinov, who guided the Lionesses in the past two seasons, on a one-year contract.
Ivan Petkov is one of the most successful contemporary Bulgarian coaches in women’s volleyball. He made his international break-through as the assistant coach of the successful Bulgarian squad, which made the final four of the 2009 FIVB Women’s Junior Volleyball World Championship in Mexico. In 2015, the former player of the elite Lokomotiv Plovdiv side head coached the young Lionesses to the eighth place at the FIVB U20 World Championship in Puerto Rico.
On the club level, Petkov has been head coaching the women’s team of Maritza Plovdiv since 2004, gradually bringing the Yellow-and-Blues from Bulgaria’s second largest city to the most successful period in their history with their first three national championship titles, first four national cups and first Bulgaria Super Cup trophy, and making Maritza an absolute dominant force on the domestic scene. Under Ivan Petkov’s mentorship, Maritza not only became the first Bulgarian women’s team to take part in the CEV Volleyball Champions League, but also achieved a historic break-through making it to the pool stage of Europe’s most prestigious club competition earlier this season.
The 2018 CEV Volleyball Golden European League will be the first challenge for Ivan Petkov in his new role. This will not be the first time he leads Bulgaria in this competition. He coached the team from southern Europe in the 2014 season, but then this was unofficially considered the country’s B-team. Still, Petkov’s squad travelled to Mexico on the first weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix that year and won the first place in their pool.
Now the target has been set high – securing a spot in the new top-tier world competition, the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, for the 2019 season, and making the top eight at this year’s FIVB World Championship in Japan, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in sight.
“Qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games is the fundamental goal for our national team,” Ivan Petkov said upon his appointment. “The road to Tokyo passes through playing in the Volleyball Nations League and achieving a good result at the World Championship. These are no easy tasks, but I think that if we do the right planning, the set targets are within our reach.”