The Bulgarian national team during an open training session at the Hristo Botev hall in Sofia
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 3, 2018 – 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship co-hosts Bulgaria will rely on their home fans for support when the competition begins on September 9. And some of the key players in the recently announced squad have issued appeals to volleyball lovers around the country to flock to the venues and cheer for the Lions during the tournament.
Bulgaria will start their quest for World Championship honours in Pool D, alongside Finland, Iran, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Poland, playing them in that order on September 9, 13, 14, 16 and 18 at the Dvorets na kulturata i sporta (Palace of Culture and Sports) in the Black Sea coastal city of Varna.
“We can’t do without you!” said outside hitter Rozalin Penchev. “We hope you will pack the stands in Varna to give us extra strength, so later we can be together again in Sofia. I believe that together we can reach the finals in Italy. We are all highly motivated and eager to play at the World Championship.”
His brother Nikolay Penchev, also a receiver on Plamen Konstantinov’s squad, said: “The 2015 European Championship in Bulgaria was an incredible experience for all of us. Now the participating teams will be even better and I am confident that the emotional charge will be the same. We are ready to welcome you to the World Championship venues. We can feel your support when we are on the court. Together we will succeed!”
After resting for about 20 days following their participation in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, the Bulgarian team resumed their preparations for the World Championship in the capital Sofia and with a high-altitude training camp at the Belmeken National Sports Complex in the Rila mountain range, which will continue through August 11.
The squad will then move to Varna and continue their preparations at the World Championship venue. Coach Plamen Konstantinov will test his selection against Russia with joint training sessions on August 15 and 16, against Belgium with joint training on August 25 and a friendly match on August 26, and against Egypt with a joint training on September 2 and a friendly the following day.
Meanwhile, Konstantinov has announced the extended roster of 22 players from which he will make his eventual choice of 14 players for the World Championship. The big absentees are star opposite Tsvetan Sokolov, who is missing the entire season after undergoing surgery, and setter Georgi Bratoev, who picked up an injury during a match in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Other key members of the squad are also recovering from various indispositions.
“It is important that we build a good group of players who will help each other out and play together as one. I hope we all prepare well and each of us gives his best to contribute to our collective effort as a team,” said captain Viktor Yosifov.
Bulgaria’s extended roster before the 2018 World Championship:
Setters: Dobromir Dimitrov, Georgi Seganov, Ivan Stanev
Opposites: Boyan Yordanov, Danail Milushev, Miroslav Gradinarov, Nikolay Uchikov
Outside hitters: Dimitar Marinkov, Nikolay Penchev, Rozalin Penchev, Todor Skrimov, Valentin Bratoev, Zlatan Yordanov
Middle blockers: Aleks Grozdanov, Krasimir Georgiev, Nikolay Nikolov, Svetoslav Gotsev, Teodor Todorov, Viktor Yosifov
Liberos: Petar Karakashev, Teodor Salparov, Vladislav Ivanov