Yordan Yankov: I love my job, all of the time and energy I invest are rewarded
During 2019-2020, Academic managed to keep 1st place in the standings before the remaining of the season to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. After being assistant coach for the past few seasons, Yordan Yankov took over the head coach position this summer with a promising start and a way to prove he has gained enough experience and trust on the management to continue the process of improvement.
Here is what he had to say in a special interview for Delasport BIBL.
As a beginning, we hope we find you well. How do you feel?
Hello to you, and all the Delasport Balkan League fans. My family and I are in good health, which is the most important thing to me, especially in times that the whole world is struggling to deal with. I feel I’m at the right place in this new challenge, i.e. to be a head coach of men’s basketball team. I had been looking forward to this moment, and now I am happy that it happened.
Maybe it is not possible, even in a basketball conversation, not to talk about COVID-19. How does the coronavirus pandemic affect the team’s preparation, condition and spirit?
Unfortunately, the virus has a huge impact to everyone, regardless of the field in which they practice their profession. It is no different with us, and, unfortunately, it has affected our team financially to a great extent. I am a positive person, and I look at things from the good side. We have already played 6 matches since the beginning of the regular season [both in Bulgaria and Delasport BIBL], but in reality only in the first one, against Varna, we could use the full squad. In the other games, for one reason or another, some of the players could not take part, but what impresses me is that each one of us tries to do their job, regardless of the circumstances.
In difficult times the strong mentality is what makes the difference, was this the leading factor in your choice of roster for Season 2020-2021?
When we started making the selection for the season, our idea was to sign as many talented Bulgarian players as possible, and for the positions where we could not afford some or they did not fit into our strategy to sign foreigners. I can say that we have amazing chemistry on the team, which was the number one priority for me. I think that people in the basketball environment and those who are interested in our team see this, both in the matches against Rilski sportist - lost after two overtimes, and the next one, against Beroe, won in the last seconds, and of course the last two games in the Delasport Balkan League, against KK Teodo and KK Ibar, both with common scenarios, we were losing on halftime, and came back in the second half.
The management of Academic Plovdiv put enormous trust on you. Isn't your youth, in combination with the experience gained regardless of your age, the formula that gives excellent results so far?
A huge Thank you to the management of the club for trusting me and believing in my qualities. Of course, the experience I have gained so far from the various coaches I have worked with, especially Sharon Drucker, helps me a lot. I love my job and I do it with great desire, for which my family suffers sometimes, but I think that in the beginning of everything new, whether a profession or business, you have to invest a lot of time and energy, which I later believe to be rewarded, if of course you are honest and without ulterior motive.
Academic Plovdiv has not lost a single game in the Delasport Balkan League since the beginning of the season. How would you determine the level of the BIBL after 12 Israeli teams joined the competition this year?
Winning is very important when it comes to professional sports. However, my view of things is a little different. For me, it is very important for the team to play well, each one on our team to feel satisfied, to show respect to each other, to help each other, and when you have all these, I think that victories come as a natural consequence of your hard work. It is a great motivation for everyone that there are Israeli teams on the competition, and that at some point they will compete with the Balkan teams. I hope we will be able to qualify and compete in the next stage of BIBL.
What are the ambitions you have set for yourself and your team for the season?
I have said several times before the season that our main goal is to play attractive basketball and bring as many people into the gym as possible. Unfortunately, the second cannot happen due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, I would also like if I can help each of my players in developing and improving some of their potential, and for me, it would be great. Our goal is to continue to be so cohesive and I hope it will help us in the next matches.
On behalf of the entire Delasport Balkan League team, I wish you, the management and staff, players and your families health and success on and off the court.
Thanks for the wishes, I also wish BIBL to continue its development in the right direction. The partnership with the Israeli federation shows exactly that. Take care and be healthy!
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