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Bulgaria manager 'worried' about Coivd impact on squad for Stephen Kenny's Nations League opener

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Bulgarian manager Georgi Dermendzhiev. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Bulgarian manager Georgi Dermendzhiev. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

REUTERS

Bulgarian manager Georgi Dermendzhiev. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Bulgaria's manager admits he's "concerned" about the impact that Covid-19 could have on his squad for their opening game in the Nations League at home to the Republic of Ireland in five weeks' time.

Players at a number of Bulgarian clubs have tested positive for Covid-19 and there were fears that the domestic league's start would be delayed, but the new season in Bulgaria kicks off next Friday, behind closed doors.

But national team boss Georgi Dermendzhiev says he's worried about some of his squad members being unavailable due to negative tests or else being in quarantine. Bulgaria are due to host Ireland in Sofia on September 3rd but UEFA retain the right to have that game moved to a neutral venue if Covid-19 poses a threat. The Balkan nation yesterday reported 13 deaths and 284 new cases.

"The players need to be very careful, they have to be disciplined and beware of coronavirus, a 14-day quarantine will leave you out of shape," manager Dermendzhiev said.

"We are worried. My staff and I watch a wide range of players. But it may turn out that a certain number of players are infected with coronavirus. So I appeal to all players to be careful and be very strict," he added.

The head of the Bulgarian FA also admitted it was a concern, forcing them to start the new league season behind closed doors as fans had been attending league games in Bulgaria.

"The number of new infections is growing daily, it is up to us as a society not to let the virus spread," BFU vice president Atanas Furnadjiev said.

"It's not just about football. We need to learn to follow measures and live with the virus. The government decides whether to admit fans, not the Bulgarian Football Union."

Online Editors