Velizar Popovappointed National football team coach

Former New Radiant Sports Club coach Velizar Popov has been appointed as the national football team coach by the Football Association of Maldives (FAM).

Popov was officially appointed to the post at a ceremony at the National Stadium held before the final fixture of the People’s Cup yesterday – which saw international sides competing against local first division teams.

The new national coach observed his star player Ali Ashfaq grab a hat-trick in the final, with his team – Malaysia’s Polis Di-Raja Malaysia Football Association – beating the Maldives’ Maziya Sports and Recreation in extra time.

During Popov’s time at New Radiant, the club took the Dhivehi League and the FA Cup with a perfect winning record, while also steering the club to the AFC Cup’s quarter finals.

Popov – who holds a UEFA pro license – left the Maldives to coach for an Oman team before coaching Thailand’s Sufenburee FC last year. Prior to this, he has coached in Denmark and Moldova as well as in his native Bulgaria.

Popov was the winner of the 2013 Haveeru Sports’ best football coach award.


Maldives draw first game against Nepal in SAFF championship

The Maldives national football drew its first game 1-1 with Nepal on Friday at the SAFF Championship in New Delhi, India.

Captain Ali Ashfaq gave the Maldives the lead just before half-time with a powerful left-footed shot from 25 yards while Sandeep Rai levelled the score with a header at the near post from a Nepalese corner after the restart.

The other game in group B between Pakistan and Bangladesh ended in a scoreless draw.