ASTANA – Czech football manager and former player Michal Bílek was appointed Jan. 17 head coach of the Kazakh national football team, a post formerly occupied by Bulgarian football manager Stanimir Stoilov, reports the Kazakhstan Football Federation.
Playing as right midfielder, Bílek represented Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic and played 35 matches, scoring 11 goals in 1987-1992. Most notably, he managed the Czech Republic national football team in 2009-2013. Under his leadership, they reached the 2012 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Championship quarterfinals.
He also managed FK Teplice in 2001, Cartaginés in 2001-2002, Czech Republic U19 in 2002-2003, Chmel Blšany in 2003-2006, Viktoria Plzeň in 2006, Sparta Prague in 2006-2008, Ružomberok in 2008-2009, Dinamo Tbilisi in 2014, Vysočina Jihlava in 2016-2017 and Fastav Zlín in 2018-2019.
“I would like to thank Fastav Zlín for their support. These fantastic six months [managing the team] were crucial for getting a taste of football again. It is an honour to lead any team,” he said to Sports.kz.
The Kazakh national football team, ranked 120th, features top players centre-half Yuriy Logvinenko, goalkeeper Dmytro Nepohodov and midfielder Georgy Zhukov. It will begin its UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with home matches at Astana Arena against Scotland and Russia March 21 and March 24, respectively.
“To lead a team playing in the Euro 2020 qualifiers again will be very interesting,” said Bílek.
Prior to coaching the Kazakh national football team, former head coach Stoilov also managed Levski Sofia in 2004-2008, Bulgaria in 2007, Litex Lovech in 2008-2009, Anorthosis Famagusta in 2011, Botev Plovdiv in 2013-2014 and Astana in 2014-2018.
Under Stoilov’s leadership, Astana Football Club won the 2015 Kazakhstan Super Cup, the 2016 Kazakhstan Cup and the Kazakhstan Premier League in 2014-2017. The team also made Kazakh football history in reaching the 2015 UEFA Champions League group stage and the knockout phase of the 2017-2018 UEFA Europa League. He was presented with a national chapan (robe) Jan. 17 by the Kazakhstan Football Federation for his contribution to football in the country.