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Bosnia name Bulgarian Petev as new coach

FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Dinamo Zagreb V Olympique Lyon - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group H - Maksimir stadium, Zagreb, Croatia - 22/10/16. Coach Ivaylo Petev of Dinamo Zagreb reacts. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bulgarian Ivaylo Petev has taken over as head coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina in a bid to take them to the 2022 World Cup, the Balkan nation’s football association (NFSBIH) said on Thursday.

“The NFSBIH Executive Board has decided that Petev will be in charge of the national soccer team in the forthcoming period,” the governing body’s vice-president Milorad Sofrenic told a news conference.

“We hope that he will steer us to the next World Cup and we are confident that two months is enough time for him to prepare for the tasks that lie ahead.”

Journeyman Petev, who has coached several clubs and his native Bulgaria, replaces Dusan Bajevic who failed to reach the delayed Euro 2020 tournament when the Bosnians were knocked out in the playoffs on penalties by Northern Ireland in October.

Bosnia are in 2022 World Cup qualifying Group D alongside world champions France, Ukraine, Finland and Kazakhstan. They start their campaign with a visit to the Finns on March 24.

Euro 2020, originally due to be held last summer, has been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now to be staged from June 11-July 11 this year in 12 venues across Europe.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing By Ken Ferris