SOFIA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Bulgaria have hired Krasimir Balakov as national team coach, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) announced on Tuesday.
The 53-year-old former international midfielder, who reached the 1994 World Cup semifinals, signed a contract to take over the team until the end of the 2022 World Cup qualification stages in November, 2021.
"He is one of the greatest footballers of our time. A man who believes in Bulgarian football and the Bulgarian national team," BFU president Borislav Mihaylov said.
Balakov succeeds his former teammate Petar Hubchev, who quit after two draws against Montenegro and Kosovo in their Euro 2020 qualifying group A.
"Being a coach of the national team is a privilege and a great responsibility," The Bulgarian legend said. "I took the decision very quickly."
The fixture against the Czech Republic on June 7 will be Balakov's first game that he will take charge of.
"We will make every effort to qualify for Euro 2020. But we are not magicians," said Balakov.
Under his guide, Bulgaria is aiming to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 2004.