World Football - CSKA Sofia turn to Nikodimov

Financially-troubled CSKA Sofia have called on the services of their former leading player and coach Asparuh Nikodimov in a bid to revive their fortunes.

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European Football - Mladenov eager to restore winning mentality at CSKA Sofia
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CSKA Sofia

The 31-times Bulgarian champions, who could get a three-year European ban by UEFA over debts, said that crowd favourite Nikodimov will take over as manager.

The appointment was announced two weeks after the Sofia-based club named former battling midfielder Georgi Iliev as chief executive.

Nikodimov, part of Bulgaria team at the World Cup finals in 1970 and 1974, led CSKA to six league titles as a player between 1966 and 1975. He also guided them to an additional five titles during three previous coaching stints at the club.

The 67-year-old also led CSKA to the European Cup semi-finals in 1982 as The Reds enjoyed overall wins over then European champions Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in the early 1980s.

"I'm excited," said Nikodimov. "I've worked here for a long time, I know the people here but now we're going a different way.

"But I trust my colleagues and I hope that our fans will see a different CSKA."

Iliev and current coach Stoycho Mladenov, known as "The executioner of Liverpool" in the Balkan country as his two goals helped CSKA to a famous 2-0 win over the Mesrseysiders in 1982, were key figures of the 1980s team.

CSKA, founded in 1948 as an army club, reached European Cup semi-finals in 1967 and 1982 but have not won the domestic league title since 2008.

After a 1-0 win over bitter city rivals Levski on Saturday, CSKA are fourth in the standings with 17 points from nine games, eight points behind leaders Ludogorets.

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