Numerous withdrawals from the squad forced national team coach Igor Angelovski to call up five additional new players to the team.
photo by FFM: Angelovski at the press-conference from the match against Estonia
After Elif Elmas tested positive for COVID-19, the play-off win against Kosovo costed our team few more cancellations as Arijan Ademi, Egzon Bejtulai and Kristijan Toshevski all suffered injuries and had to withdraw from the remaining two matches. Furthermore, Visar Musliu had two games suspension pending in the Nations League, which means our coach could also not count on him for the encounters against Estonia and Georgia.
Originally Igor Angelovski decided to stick to the remaining players in the squad, but the match against Estonia caused a withdrawal to few more players as well – Enis Bardhi picked up a yellow card which meant automatic suspension for the encounter against Georgia, Stefan Spirovski suffered a knee injury and it is unclear if he will be able to play, whereas Ferhan Hasani was released from the squad. As a result, Igor Angelovski had to react fast and add few new players to strengthen the defense and midfield.
Agron Rufati – Zorya
Tome Kitanovski – Makedonija GjP
Darko Micevski – Vardar
Ennur Totre – Shkendija
Ljupcho Doriev – Shkendija
Center-back Agron Rufati from Ukrainian Zorya was promoted from the U21 to the senior national team. Agron has a pending yellow card suspension in the U21 qualifiers, meaning he was free from Blagoja Milevski’s squad, but still that suspension is active in all national team competitions, so he will only train with the seniors and won’t be able to play. Lateral back Tome Kitanovski from Makedonija GjP was called up as an alternative at the right back position after the withdrawals of Kristijan Toshevski and Egzon Bejtulai.
In the midfield, the absence of defensive/central midfielders Arijan Ademi, Stefan Spirovski and Enis Bardhi will be covered by the additionally called up Darko Micevski from Vardar and Ennur Totre from Shkendija, while Shkendija’s left wing Ljupcho Doriev will also be returning to the national team.
From the 5 new players, only Ljupcho Doriev and Tome Kitanovski have been capped once for the national team before, while Agron Rufati, Darko Micevski and Ennur Totre will be looking to make their debut for the senior team.
It is worth to mention that initially, coach Igor Angelovski was hoping to call up the Botoșani midfield duo David Babunski and Stefan Ashkovski, but due to bad flight connection possibilities it was not feasible for them to make it in time for the preparations before the match on Wednesday. Angelovski therefore decided to call up players from the domestic league instead, as they can immediately respond to the call up and start with preparations right away.
Furthermore it still remains to be seen if first goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski will be able to play on Wednesday as he got ruled out from the match against Estonia due to a presumptive positive COVID-19 test, but the second tests results showed that he was negative.