FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
- Simona Petkova is Bulgaria’s attacking midfielder
- She is one of the few Bulgarians to be professional
- Petkova and Bulgaria to return to #WWC qualifiers
The UEFA preliminary draw for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia / New Zealand will take place on 30 April. It will involve 51 teams including Bulgaria, 78th in the FIFA / Coca-Cola Women’s Ranking, which will mark their comeback to competition.
“This draw will hardly be lenient for us! Each match will represent a real challenge for us. We will have to focus on ourselves, and not on our adversaries” warns Simona Petkova, attacking midfielder of Bulgaria, at the microphone of FIFA.com.
“But I am obviously delighted at the idea of being able to participate in these qualifications again. It is the perfect opportunity to show our potential and our qualities. It will take a lot of work from us, but it will generate so much happiness”, she takes care to add.
Petkova knows what she’s talking about. Born in 1993, the person concerned came into the world two and a half months before a legendary match which took place within the framework of World Cup qualifiers (United States 1994), France-Bulgaria. “It is one of the great moments in the history of our football,” she confirms. “Emil Kostadinov’s brace allowed us to get our ticket to the USA and fill a whole country. It was the pinnacle of Bulgarian football. He and Hristo Stoichkov gave our people the opportunity to experience moments of pure football madness “, she continues with reference to the fourth place won by her elders in USA 1994, a few months later.
But if Petkova speaks knowingly, it is also because she is one of the few in the current squad to have tasted the joys of the playoffs. She and her team had indeed been in the qualifying campaign for Canada 2015. “It was the start of my career. The results were not there, but this experience had been very enriching for the young player that j was, “she recalls.
Eight years later, she intends to use this experience and also that acquired in the clubs in Europe where she played – Watford in England, Pink Bari and Empoli in Italy, and FC Lugano Femminile in Switzerland – to apply for a sesame for the World Cup. “I believe in us! There is always hope,” she says. “We are being offered a great opportunity, we have to seize it by working hard to put all the chances on our side. Bulgarian women’s football has since made good progress… and it still has a good margin of improvement. We can surprise!”
Petkova perfectly personifies that. Despite having started football late, at 16, the midfielder has managed, through hard work and perseverance, to reach the top level. At 27, she signed her first professional contract this year and is thriving in Switzerland, in Lugano. “I am very happy in my life. Switzerland is a magnificent country. I am aware of my luck to be able to evolve abroad. It is obviously a vector of progress both on a personal level and in terms of football “, she sums up
But there is a slightly longer version of its story. Petkova emotionally turned her journey into a book, ‘Football Journey’, which came out in 2020. “I grew up in a poor family, without a dad. I didn’t really have a dream life, but I believed in it. me and in the possibility of achieving my highest goals through hard work and conviction “, she explains before concluding:” We were not born to be perfect, but to be happy, it is the message that I would like to convey. For that, you have to know what you want, and do everything possible to get it. People must have daring, courage, and above all that they listen to their hearts! “