thanks a lot for your interest guys.
it's a great pleasure. macedonia's coach ilievski, as you said it, is trying to make good players play for their homeland and make them choose macedonia.
this article from onefootball.com perfectly sums up the situation :
Ilevski calls in foreign legion
Thursday 14th March 2002
New Macedonia FYR coach Nikola Ilevski is on a mission to seek out foreign players of Macedonian origin. "I'm going to try and strengthen the national squad with every player from abroad who wants to play for Macedonia," said the coach.
Ilesi is believed to be preparing to approach a number of players to persuade them to return to their Macedonian roots and represent the country in the forthcoming Euro 2004 qualifying campaign.
"I'm going to try and strengthen the national squad with every player from abroad who wants to play for Macedonia," said the coach.
According to a recent piece of research, there are 25 non-Macedonian players of Macedonian origin playing in Europe's top leagues and Ilevski is now on a mission to persuade them that they should represent Macedonia FYR at international level.
The players that the coach is targetting include Aleksander Mitreski from Swiss side Young Boys, Oliver Bogatinov from Slovenian side Publikum, Saso Petrovski from Danish side Viborg, Gzim Osmani from Malmo in Sweden, Villareal's Igor Tasheski, Ivica Ilie from Partizan Belgrade and Jovan Markovski from Red Star Belgrade.
"Saso Petrovski is willing to play for Macedonia, and very soon I'll contact him," said Ilevski. "He has a big chance to play in the friendly against Bosnia, because he has only played in a friendly game for Australia.
"From the other players, together with Aleksandar Mitreski who plays in Sweden, I seriously count on Oliver Bogatinov from Slovenia, even through he's injured at the moment."
However, Ilevski faces an uphill task if he is to persuade Lille's Australian-born Mile Sterjovski to join his new look side.
"I heard that Mile Sterjovski from Lille said to media that he's not willing to play for Macedonia FYR, but I'll wait until I hear that from him," said Ilesi. "I won't give up on him that easily."
To the coach's frustration, several players of Macedonian origin have already been ruled out of his plans by electing to commit themselves to representing other nations.
Crystal Palace's Jovan Kirovski represents the United States, Bordeaux's Iksel Osmanovsi plays for Sweden and Ethnikos' Borce Gjurev plays for Cyprus.
unfortunately he was unsuccessful with oka nikolov, eintracht frankfurt goalkeeper, because he would have lost his german citizenship and sterjovski who plays for australia.
onthe other hand, "swiss" alexandar mitrevski from grasshoppers has accepted, bogatinov and petrovski seem ok, tasevski, iliev and markovski are still a question mark i think, especially iliev who has already been selected twice for yugoslavia's U21 team.
He laso succeeded with "swede" jurica siljanovski, from elsborg, and convinced brazilian play Braga, who's linked with Inter Milano, to play for macedonia. He has now macedonian citizenship and already plays for the NT.
it's really a shame for kirovski, osmanovski and sterjovski since they're excellent players... but playing for macedonia wasn't really attractive when they had to choose... we cannot blame them for that. For Petric it was easier to pick croatia over switzerland.
I strongly hope he will have another achievements of this type cause we have a tough euro2004 qualification group...
The Macedonians have been drawn in qualifying Group 7 alongside England, Turkey, Slovakia and Liechtenstein.
may i ask you some question too ... do you know where igor gjuzelov plays ? is it at NK zagreb or hajduk split ? could you tell me more about him ?
jedan je GOCE SEDLOSKI... great player indeed. i've read he was voted croatian player of the year. i was a little bit surprised cause there are excellent central defenders playing in croatia (stimac, bilic, etc) but it shows our football is on the right path and improve year after year...