Aleksandar Todorovski’s performances praised in Poland

Aleksandar Todorovski (black shirt) in action for Polonia; photo: ksppolonia.plWe bring you the story about Aleksandar Todorovski that these days was in the headlines of the Polish media.

An unfortunate injury sustained in the away match against Wisła Kraków excluded Aleksandar Todorovski from Macedonia’s national team as well as several consecutive league matches for Polonia Warszawa. Having healed his broken rib, Aleksandar is making an impressive comeback. He secured a place in the first lineup, moving the former Betis right-back Isidoro to the bench. But things were not so bright for the Macedonian international before.

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He joined Polonia Warszawa from Rad in a controversial move that sentenced Aleksandar to several months in the reserves of the Serbian club. When he joined the Polish side hopes were high, and the club owner’s expectations even higher. Józef Wojciechowski, the former president and owner of Polonia, offered generous contacts but in return wanted to have a say in every aspect of the team’s play. Aleksandar’s team-mates, those that read Polish, claim that they would wake up in the morning and start by checking the internet and the press to see what had happened in the club overnight. Wojciechowski liked to criticize or even sack players and staff through the media. And he often criticized Todorovski. Playing under such pressure and bearing the stigma of an expensive foreign player (bought by the Dutch manager Theo Bos who left the club after only a couple of poorly played matches), Aleksandar was often performing well below his abilities. Apart from a brilliant goal scored directly from a free kick in the Polish Cup game against Arka Gdynia, his 16 league appearances were solid at best.

In the summer Polonia underwent a dramatic power shift, and for a moment it was unclear if the club will play at all. The players were left without money, without a coach and without training facilities, waiting for a signal if they should move to a different club, if the entire team should be transferred to a different city or if the club should be relegated to 4th division. In the end, Polonia was bought by Ireneusz Król, who decided to get rid of players with highest contracts – and targeted Todorovski as one of the first to go. But the new coach Piotr Stokowiec – formerly taking care of the club’s youth team and spontaneously taking over the first squad when no other coach was around – saw Aleksandar as an important element in his idea for “the Black Shirts”. After 9 games played, Polonia is second in the table, four points behind rivals Legia.

Todorovski is an important player in Stokowiec’s scheme, and as soon as he was able to play after the injury, he returned to the squad – in the difficult away game against the reigning champions Śląsk Wrocław. And that is despite the fact – as Poland’s major daily newspaper “Gazeta Wyborcza” noticed – that right-back is a position where the team seems to have most competition. Apart from the Spaniard Isidoro, there is the experienced former Polish national Baszczyński, the young Pazio and the Serbian Cotra. “I was not scared when Isidoro arrived” – claims Todorovski – “I like competition”.

Currently the team fields three wingbacks – the U-21 defender Pazio was moved to the midfield, making space for both Todorovski and Cotra. Both former colleagues from Rad are now in the best period of their Polish career. In Polonia’s current scheme, wingbacks have to engage in offensive play but also work very hard in the defense. Both Todorovski and his Serbian counterpart on the left flank fit this idea surprisingly well. Previously seen as “Balkan players with character” they are now complimented for their technical skill, incredible stamina and calm defending. “I like playing that way” – says Aleksandar – “I know many people complain that we are losing a lot of goals, but as long as we win games this does not matter”. Todorovski was praised by the fans in an opinion poll after the next game – a home win with Ruch Chorzów, as well as the impressive 5:0 win away at Bełchatów.

The journalists, who had a chance to question Alexandar directly in a press conference last week, notice that he moved to a totally new level recently. “In the least season, whenever someone made a mistake – he was criticized. You were afraid to leave your house. I like it much better now – calm and quiet. Even at the price of delayed salaries”. Part of a victorious team, whose style makes an impression on the entire Ekstraklasa, Todorovski now aims to return to the Macedonian national team. “I was born in Serbia, that is where my family is, and that is where I lived. My father is from Macedonia. When Macedonia’s coach called me and asked to play for the team, I agreed. Today I feel more of a Macedonian – because that is the nation I represent.” In the light of the recent win of the Macedonian national team against Serbia, this seems to have been a wise choice – concludes “Gazeta”.

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