SOFIA - Bulgarian champions Levski Sofia have sacked coach Emil Velev and replaced him with Serbian Ratko Dostanic, the club said on Thursday. Levski's owner Todor Batkov decided to fire Velev only two days after their 9-0 aggregate win over Andorra's Sant Julia in the Champions League second qualifying round. Velev led Levski to the league title last season but came under fire from the club's fans and also antagonised the local press with his dour approach. Former Levski midfielder Velev became the third Bulgarian club coach to be sacked in the last 14 months following Stanimir Stoilov, the current national team manager, and Velislav Vutsov. However, many Levski fans questioned the timing of the decision saying it should have been made at the end of last season and not on the eve of their European campaign. "It's probably a late change but I hope it'll not be fatal and we'll achieve some good results," Batkov told a news conference. Dostanic, who has signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year, added: "Levski are a great club and it's a big honour for me to be their coach". It will be the much-travelled Serb's second spell at the club where he was assistant coach six years ago. The 49-year-old former Red Star Belgrade, Slavia Sofia and Vardar Skopje coach will make his debut in the Champions League third qualifying round at Azerbaijan's FK Baki next Tuesday. Batkov also replaced sporting director Daniel Borimiov with striker and crowd favourite Georgi Ivanov, who is recovering from a serious injury but will probably continue to play.
23 July 2009
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