Volleyball: Internal chaos makes us stronger, say Bulgaria

LONDON Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:45pm EDT

1 of 5. Bulgaria's Tsvetan Sokolov (L) spikes the ball against Poland's Michal Winiarski during their men's Group A volleyball match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Earls Court July 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado

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LONDON (Reuters) - It is difficult to find a nation with as much sporting turmoil as Bulgaria, where coaches and players are hired, fired or resign on a monthly basis and often at the most inopportune times.

In soccer, Levski Sofia had to deal with serious fan violence and a road blockade in the last year while the club also had to cope with three manager resignations with one quitting after nine days.

Rivals CSKA Sofia sacked nine players last week because of a lack of effort and professionalism.

Volleyball is not immune to the pandemonium.

Bulgaria's preparations for the London Olympics were thrown into disarray by coach Radostin Stoychev and top player Metey Kaziyski both quitting a day after they had qualified for the Games last month, citing national federation interference.

Somehow, out of the mess, Bulgaria find themselves on the brink of the Olympic quarter-finals with two wins out of two in Pool A after battering much-hyped Poland 3-1 on Tuesday.

"I don't think chaos helps anyone but it's part of our national characteristic, in a moment of difficulty we show our best," captain Vladimir Nikolov told reporters.

"In that moment we had a lot of problems, this was proof of our character."

Bulgaria took silver in the men's volleyball at the 1980 Moscow Games but have never medaled in the Olympics otherwise.

New coach Nayden Naydenov could be on the verge of something special - unless he decides to quit.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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