New F.Y.R. Macedonia coach Dragan Kanatlarovski has announced a 19-man squad for
New F.Y.R. Macedonia coach Dragan Kanatlarovski has announced a 19-man squad for the 6 September Euro 2004 qualifier against England in Skopje...
Kanatlarovski, who was appointed as interim coach on 12 August following the earlier departure of previous manager Nikola Ilievski, has kept faith with striker Georgi Hristov, who England fans will remember from his time playing for Barnsley, as well as defenders Goran Stavrevski, Igor Mitrevski and Igor Gjuzelov.
The quartet had fallen out of favour with Ilievski, but were recalled by the new coach for Macedonia's friendly with Albania in Prilep earlier this month, a match that the home side won 3-1 to give their new coach a winning start in his job, while Partizan defender Milan Stojanoski has also been selected after a one-year absence from the squad.
However the hosts are without the services of defenders Goce Sedloski, who will miss the qualifier through suspension, Aleksandar Vasoski, who has a thigh injury and Sašo Lazarevski, while strikers Robert Popov, who is recovering from knee surgery, Goran Stankovski and Aco Stojkov are also absent, as is midfielder Mile Krstev.
"We have nothing to lose against England," said Kanatlarovski. "My players will do their best and show they are capable of achieving a good result against a great team." But not even a victory over Sven-Göran Eriksson's side can propel Macedonia to next summer's European Championships in Portugal, as they have only collected five points from their six games played so far and have just Slovakia left to play.
And yet 43-year-old Kanatlarovski, who is in his second spell as coach of the national side following a previous stint between 1999-2001 and who is also in charge of club side FK Pobeda at the same time, will be reminding his players that they came away from St Mary's with a famous 2-2 draw against England last October.
That ironically was one of Ilievski's best results as Macedonia manager, but it did not save him his job after a run of only one win in six Group Seven fixtures. However, the man who opened the scoring on the South Coast that night direct from a corner, Artim Sakiri, will again be captaining his country against the Three Lions, having joined West Bromwich Albion at the start of this season and he will be looking to impress for more than one reason.
by Richard Morgan
F.Y.R. Macedonia squad
Milosevski, Nikolovski, Mitreski, Gjuzelov, Cumbev, Sedloski, Stavrevski, Stojanoski, A Mitreski, Jancevski, Grozdanovski, Sumulikoski, Braga, Trajanov, Pandev, Saciri, Hristov, Naumoski, Dimitrovski.
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