Interview 20 May 2024

Rosen Marinov, the coach of the elite under-16 champions: Success is the result of many years of work and is for the entire Ludogorets Academy !

"The team secured the leadership with 42 points after 15 matches played over 4 months. Of these, the team from Razgrad won 14 and allowed only one...

"The team secured the leadership with 42 points after 15 matches played over 4 months. Of these, the team from Razgrad won 14 and allowed only one loss. The Razgrad players spend the winter at the top with a five-point advantage over the second in the standings - September (Sofia). Behind the excellent evaluation and dry statistics is the hard work of a cohesive team, which continues to work even in sub-zero temperatures".

Thus began the history of the Ludogorets under-16 team with coach Rosen Marinov at the beginning of the spring season. Today, four months later, the degrees outside are positive, as is the mood among the close-knit family of Eagles. The reason is clear to the whole of Bulgaria - Ludogorets is the champion among the 16-year-olds!

Congratulations on the championship title in Elite in Bulgaria under 16! What are the emotions after the winning match against Levski (Sofia)?

They are very pleasant, the good thing is that we became champions right after such a derby match. This could not have happened if it was not for hard work throughout the year. And not only. I have been leading the team since 2020, for the past 4 years we have done a lot of work with the boys to get here and to be champions of the Elite Group for the second year in a row, after in the 2022/2023 season we topped the under-15 championship.

I express my gratitude to my colleagues who were close to me and extremely helpful - Svetlin Ivanov and the goalkeeping coach Dobrin Dobrev. I also thank the management of the club, scouts and the director of the Academy, Radoslav Komitov. This success is for the entire Academy!

How will you approach the remaining two rounds of the championship?

100% we will play the last two games at high level! We are at the end of the championship and it is normal to have accumulated fatigue - physical and psychological. In the final matches, we will also give a chance to children who have played in the championship to a lesser extent.

We are talking 38 games after the first one played in the autumn division, on August 5th. How do you get to the top of Elite under 16 in Bulgaria?

For me, the basis is in the children's work and self-discipline. After all, they came here to become footballers, to be built as such. The boys are subjected to many deprivations all year round, there are no vacations and holidays for them, we even trained on Easter. These guys are extremely dedicated and for me winning the title is not some kind of peak because I have higher expectations – namely that many of them develop at a high professional level.

Your convincing wins in almost every match are impressive. How is such unceasing pacing achieved?

The footballers themselves love to go out on the field against strong teams in derby matches and it is not impossible to be motivated, they achieve it themselves. They are born winners, they have the mentality of champions! For me, the most important thing is that they are healthy and continue in the same spirit in the future.

What do you consider the biggest success of the season final?

For me, the key to success is that we were very consistent in our performances. I think that in all the matches we dominated the opponent, we were better than all the opponents - especially those at the top of the standings. Our game was consistently good, although during this championship we were accompanied by a lot of injuries, we also had players suspended. We've had our problems, but we've been consistent in our performances on the field!

What was the biggest difficulty on the way to the top?

The main problems stemmed from injuries and suspensions. In addition, some of the boys, mainly Elisey Sarov and Kaloyan Bozhkov, were called up to the Ludogorets under-17 team. A lot of the games were played alongside and we lacked width and depth in the team, which was also a problem for us during the championship. Overall, the good thing is that we managed despite the difficulties during the year.

Is there room for regret on the pages of success?

There is absolutely no room for regret! We work, continue to develop and build the boys as footballers. For me, the real success will come when I see someone from the 2008 team make it in professional football. I think it will happen and a lot of guys will achieve it.

League table Parva liga, 37th round
1. Ludogorets 82
2. Cherno more 75
3. CSKA-Sofia 67
4. Levski 64
5. Lokomotiv (Plovdiv) 58
6. Krumovgrad 49


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