SOFIA - Hristo Stoichkov has lost 15 kilos but none of his hunger for success as he sets his sights on winning South Africa's league title, the former European Footballer of the Year said.
The 43-year-old Stoichkov, named Europe's best in 1994 as a prolific striker for Barcelona, has guided Mamelodi Sundowns to second in the standings after a slow start to the season, three points behind leaders SuperSport United with a game in hand.
"We have had some problems in the first six or seven rounds of play and it was difficult to enforce the changes I wanted," Stoichkov told Bulgaria's Trud daily yesterday. "It's hard, very hard. I lost some 15 kilos in the last six months.
"But in the last two months, we're picking the fruits and now everyone in the club is talking about the title. And such a thing seemed like a dream before the start of the season."
Stoichkov, who as a player guided Bulgaria to the semifinals at the 1994 World Cup in the US, took the helm at Sundowns in June when former France manager Henri Michel was fired after six months on the job. A three-year spell in charge of Bulgaria culminated in failure to reach the 2006 World Cup finals and he left Spanish club Celta Vigo just months after taking the job. - Reuters