/Soccer: Stojanovic closer to Latvia job after leaving Levski

Soccer: Stojanovic closer to Latvia job after leaving Levski

FILE PHOTO: Former Slovenia head coach Slavisa Stojanovic in Ljubljana November 15, 2011. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic/File Photo

SOFIA (Reuters) – Latvia moved closer to appointing Slavisa Stojanovic as their new coach before the start of their European Championship qualifying campaign after Bulgarian club Levski Sofia released the Slovenian from his contract on Monday.

Last week, sources told Reuters that Slovenia’s former national coach Stojanovic had already agreed to join Latvia on a three-year contract.

Latvia, who have not qualified for the finals of a major tournament since their only appearance at a European Championship in 2004, are in Group G of the Euro 2020 qualifying phase alongside Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia and Macedonia.

Levski, the 26-times Bulgarian champions, terminated Stojanovic’s contract, which was due to expire in June, by mutual consent and he will be replaced by former Ludogorets coach Georgi Dermendzhiev.

Experienced Dermendzhiev, who led Ludogorets to three consecutive league titles between 2015 and 2017, has signed a contract until the end of the season with an option for two more years.

Levski, currently third in the Bulgarian league, are one of the two most popular clubs in the Balkan country along with bitter city rivals CSKA and Dermendzhiev will have to deal with a hugely demanding and impatient fan base.

“Everything happened so quickly,” the 64-year-old, who became Levski’s 10th coach since June 2014, said. “I know that Levski is a huge responsibility but I do not worry about anything.”

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Ian Chadband

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