Vlado Nikolov returns to the fold for World Championships
Ex-captain Nikolov, who is still active as a club player, has not competed for Bulgaria’s national team since the fourth-place finish at the London Olympic Games. He has never been far apart from his former teammates, however, as he has been acting as team manager since the 2013 season.
Former captain Plamen Konstantinov, who is the team's new coach, has asked Vlado Nikolov to rejoin the squad as a player. The 36-year-old opposite has agreed and his name is one of the 22 submitted by Konstantinov as Bulgaria's extended roster for Poland 2014.
The reasoning behind experienced Vlado Nikolov’s return is the need for more security at the opposite position, traditionally strong for Bulgaria, but currently filled mainly with young talent. The 2.00m star, however, faces the challenge of getting back into shape in a very short period of time, as he has admitted himself.
Coach Konstantinov has also confirmed that it is not sure whether Nikolov will have sufficient time to regain his form ahead of the competition. “I am not taking anyone to the World Championship who is not in good shape, just because of the name on the back of his jersey,” he said in Botevgrad, where the Bulgarians are currently using the brand new local sports hall to train. “This is also absolutely valid for Vlado Nikolov.”