Kudos to the Macedonian U21 and its coach Blagoj Milevski for fielding the B team against Portugal, in an effort to welcome the new players who will take the place of the first team who for their part is moving up to the senior side.
Macedonia showed gutsy performance once again, battling it out with a very tough Portugal side, and by scoring two goals prevented the Portuguese team from moving on to the second round despite having six points.
Macedonia finished 4th on goal difference, but the takeaway from this team is extremely positive. We played free flowing football, attacking at all times no matter who the opponent is. We must admit huge credit for this style of play goes to the coach Blagoj Milevski who took a U21 team who knew nothing but defeats, and did a complete 180 degree turn and qualified for the European championship.
Everyone did a good, job, but we must mention few of our top players..
Bardhi again showed why he is wanted by numerous clubs across Europe. With his speed, agility and cannon of a shot, he is the perfect addition to the senior team. Imagine Bardhi and lightning bolt Alioski playing upfront with Nestorovski! Sorry Pandev, thanks for everything but we need speed upfront.
David Babunski is a very special player. His instinct and ability to find players with his deadly accurate passes that beat offside traps is something to be admired. Last year, Babunski was removed from the senior national team for being too frank and intelligent in his take on the football federation. Even Pancev’s statement that he was by far our most intelligent player didn’t help. Well, with his latest performance, I’d be the first to venture out a guess that he will be back in the senior team, very quickly.
Then we have our goalie Aleksovski. I am not sure what to make of our goalie. It is mostly thanks to his insanely good goalkeeping that Macedonia finished on top of our qualification group, ahead of France. However, against Spain, we saw him allow the simplest of goals, with the ball bouncing literally from his chest and into the net!? Then there was another bizarrely simple goal he allowed. Yet on the same match he intervened like a lion, flew across the goal and extended his hands well beyond what a typical goalie can do and saved a clear goal. His challenge is consistency, it’s probably why he seats on the bench in FC Vardar.
Lastly, lets mention coach Milevski. Frankly, I believe this man is pure genius and should immediately be put in charge of the senior team. It doesn’t matter what the scoreline is, Milevski pushes his team to attack and score goals. You gotta admire that. Gives his players freedom on the field, yet everyone knows what their job is.
While coaching FC Vardar several years ago, during a match in the 1st division, the second goalie sitting on the bench, mused “I would have scored that” after his team missed a great opportunity to score. Milevski overheard his goalie on the bench and told him “You think so? Well lets see” and asked him to suit up as a field player. The goalie ended up scoring after 10 minutes of play and pointed towards Milevski after scoring. Milevski’s reaction: “Damn, he actually scored!”.
Now you know why we love this man, and his place is coaching the senior team.