|Georgi Mladenov has been appointed as new head coach of the Bulgarian senior men's national team |
The Bulgarian Basketball Federation (BFB) announced on Tuesday that its executive board has appointed Georgi Mladenov as the new head coach of their senior national team.
The 51-year-old Mladenov, who is currently employed as a technical consultant at Bulgarian club Academic Blagoevgrad, has signed a three-year contract with BFB.
Mladenov is replacing in the role Konstantin Papazov, who was at the helm of the national team in last summer's EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualification Round but stepped down in March, following a domestic league incident.
"The choice was easy and it was almost unanimous," said BFB president and former legendary player Georgi Glushkov.
"Georgi Mladenov knows basketball in the country and knows the players.
"I am sure that both the coach and the players want to qualify to the EuroBasket and they will show such a performance that they will prove they have the will to qualify.
"For me, that is as important as the result.
"We know that our group is difficult and we will play against strong rivals."
Bulgaria were drawn in Group B of the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualification Round, which means that in August they will go up against Israel, Montenegro and the Netherlands.
"I suppose Mladenov's coaching staff will also be Bulgarian, we will talk about his assistants," Glushkov added.
"We have also not spoken yet with the new coach about the extended list that Titi Papazov had announced previously or the roster, but we will do it soon."
Mladenov is no stranger to the particulars of coaching a national team as he worked as head coach of the U18 Bulgarian side last summer and in 2009 and he had also steered the U20 team into the European Championship Division B of 2010.
The new Bulgaria head coach has also been at the helm of Lukoil Akademic, Balkan and Spartak Euroins in the past.
His task will include lifting the spirits of a team who suffered last summer the disappointment of reaching the final of the 1st Qualification Round only to lose to Estonia on aggregate and miss out on the chance to book a direct ticket to EuroBasket 2015.
As part of their preparations for August's EuroBasket qualifying campaign, Bulgaria will participate in warm-up games in Germany from 25 to 27 July.
Bulgaria will then return to their training camp base in Sofia and conclude their preparations by hosting an international friendly tournament, which will also include Denmark and Romania, from 3 to 5 August.
The EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualification Round gets under way on 10 August and Bulgaria play host to the Netherlands in the premiere.