Exodus shakes Pelister, worries fans

Twelve players have left Pelister, leaving the club with only few players, all of them reserves and youth.

After winning the Macedonian Cup last season and qualifying for the Europa League seemed that the Bitola based club would eventually stabilize. However, that dream ended this autumn when the most regular players decided to leave following bad results, disappointing place on the league table (second to last) and unpaid salaries.

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The cup-winning team started to fall apart with the resignation of  Turkish coach Naci Şensoy two days after the early elimination from the Europa League by Polish side Lech from Poznań. His successor Srgjan Zaharievski failed to make the team competitive in the domestic league and was later substituted with Spase Ristevski who is still in charge.

First player to leave was Macedonian league all-time top goalscorer Bazhe Ilijoski. He was followed by the trio Brazilian internationals in Lucas Ferreira Cardoso, Jadelson Barbosa da Silva and Fernando Silva dos Santos. Bulgarians Martin Kovachev and Dimitar Iliev joined the exodus which was later expanded by domestic players Marko Jovanovski, Kristijan Toshevski, Oliver Peev, Jovan Popzlatanov, Filip Petrov and Matej Cvetanoski.

So far only Lucas Cardoso has a new club, the Albanian side Partizani from the capital city of Tirana. U21 national team players Jovan Popzlatanov and Matej Cvetanoski should easily find new clubs since they are considered to be bright young players.

Right back Kristijan Toshevski, who has regularly been summoned in the senior national team recently, will have a lot of options for a new club as many stand in line for his signature following his outstanding performance this year. Vardar is one of the most interested, but his offer my be topped by Croatian clubs.

Currently Pelister has only 12 players in the squad, counting only those who featured in at least 1 game this half-season. Ghanian international Moustapha Quaynor in on loan from Vardar and is expected to stay since his salary is being payed by the Skopje based club.

Being placed at the 9th place from ten teams, the fate of Pelister is unknown and disturbing for its fans.

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