Foreign players who were eligible but have never played for Macedonia

Since 1992 until 2020 a lot of players that were born or raised abroad decided to represent Macedonia at international level. On the other hand, many players who were eligible to play for Macedonia choose to wear some other countries jersey instead of ours.

This is a result of number of reasons as follows:
– some of them were part of a respectable squad that played continental championships or World Cups,
– some were never called up because of Macedonian Football Federation’s negligence, and
– some of them were simply unwilling to play for Macedonia.

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We would never find out if their presence would have taken us to some major competition but we’ve tried to create a team of players that would surely elevate our national team’s quality to a far higher level.

These are Macedonia’s best potential 11 including their substitutes:

photo: Alchetron

1. Vladimir “Vlada” Avramov 05.04.1979 Serbia Serbia
– He finished his career and currently works as an assistant coach for Brescia in Italy. He was born in Novi Sad, Serbia but he’s Macedonian by his father’s side. Avramov has 2 caps for the Serbian national team. In his senior career he played in Serbia (Vojvodina), Italy (Vicenza, Pescara, Fiorentina, Treviso, Cagliari, Torino, Atalanta) and Japan (Tokyo). He was never invited to play for Macedonia.

2. Mile Sterjovski 27.05.1979 Australia
– He finished his career and currently works as assistant coach for Macarthur, Australia. He was born in Wollongong, Australia but he’s Macedonian by his father’s side. He earned 43 caps/8 goals for the Australian national team. In his senior career he played in Australia (Wollongong Wolves, Wollongong United, Sydney United, Parramatta Power, Perth Glory, Central Coast Mariners), France (Lille), Switzerland (Basel), Turkey (Gençlerbirliği), England (Derby County) and China (Dàlián Aerbin). Sterjovski has won 1 Swiss league title and 1 Swiss Cup with Basel, 1 Australian league with the Mariners as well as a gold medal in the 2004 Oceania Nations’ Cup and a bronze medal in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup representing Australia. He has also represented Australia in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2006 FIFA World Cup and 2007 AFC Asian Cup. He was never invited to play for Macedonia. Normally Mile played more in the offense than at RB, but because of the lack of a quality typical RB we decided to put him on that position.

photo: FIFA

photo: iDNES

3. Marek Jankulovski 09.05.1977 Czechia Czechia
– He finished his career and he’s currently working as a sporting director for Baník from Ostrava, Czechia. He was born in Ostrava but his father is Macedonian from Aegean (White Sea) Macedonia who emigrated to Czechia from Macedonia (in that time part of Yugoslavia). He earned 77 caps/11 goals for the Czech national team. In his senior career he played in Czechia (Baník) and Italy (Napoli, Udinese, Milan). He has won 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 FIFA Club World Cup and 1 Italian championship with Milan. He was named 2007 Czech Footballer of the Year. Jankulovski represented Czechia in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 UEFA EURO, 2000 Olympic Games as well as the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He was never invited to play for Macedonia.

4. Sasa “Sash” Ognenovski 03.04.1979 Australia
– He finished his career and he’s currently the coach of Dandenong City, Australia. He was born in Melbourne, Australia but he is Macedonian by his father’s side. The original spelling of his first name is Saša, but it is written Sasa because the English alphabet doesn’t have the letter “š”. He has 22 caps/1 goal for the Australian national team. In his senior career he played in Australia (Preston Lions, Melbourne Knights, Fawkner-Whittlesea Blues, Queensland Roar, Adelaide United, Sydney), South Korea (Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma) and Qatar (Umm-Salal). He has won 1 AFC Champions League and 1 Korean FA Cup with Seongnam and he has won a silver medal in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup representing Australia. Ognenovski was named 2010 AFC Asian Footballer of the Year and 2010 AFC Champions League Most Valuable Player (MVP). In 2009 he accepted the invitation to represent Macedonia but he didn’t make an appearance due to untimely issuance of the necessary documents by Macedonian authorities. Later on, the Macedonian Football Federation didn’t call him again considering him too old to play for the national team. The next year (2010) he was named Asian Footballer of the Year and he was called up by Australia, thus proving that our federation made a mistake about him even though we had some quality CB’s in that period.

photo: FIFA

5. Shkodran Mustafi 17.04.1992 Germany Germany
– He currently plays for Arsenal, England. He was born in Bad Hersfeld, Germany but on his father’s side he’s originally from the village of Simnica near Gostivar, Macedonia. He has 20 caps/2 goals for the German national team. In his senior career he played in England (Everton, Arsenal), Italy (Sampdoria) and Spain (Valencia). Mustafi has won 1 FA Cup and 1 English Super Cup with Arsenal. He has won a gold medal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2009 UEFA U17 European Championship representing Germany and he also represented Germany in the 2016 European Championship. He refused the invitation from Macedonia to play for Germany.

photo: die Welt

photo: Werder Bremen

6. Aleksandar Ignjovski 27.01.1991 Serbia Serbia
– He currently plays for Holstein Kiel, Germany. He was born in Pančevo, Serbia but he’s Macedonian by his father’s side. He has 12 caps for Serbian national team. In his senior career he has played in Serbia (OFK Beograd) and Germany (München 1860, Werder, Eintracht Frankfurt, Freiburg, Magdeburg, Holstein Kiel). Ignjovski refused the invitation from Macedonia to play for Serbia. In October 2012 he played against Macedonia in Skopje in a World Cup qualifier and went home defeated.

photo: US Soccer Players

7. Jovan Kirovski 18.03.1976 USA
– He finished his career and he’s currently working as technical director for the Los Angeles Galaxy, USA. He was born in Escondido, USA but both of his parents are Macedonians. He earned 63 caps/10 goals for the US national team. In his senior career he played in England (Manchester United, Cristal Palace, Birmingham City), Germany (Borussia Dortmund, Fortuna Köln), Portugal (Sporting) and USA (Los Angeles Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, San Jose Earthquakes). He has won 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 FIFA Club World Cup and 1 German Super Cup with Borussia Dortmund, 2 MLS Cups, 2 Supporters Sheald trophies and 1 “Lamar Hunt” US Open Cup with Los Angeles Galaxy. Kirovski has won a bronze medal at 1996 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup representing USA and he also represented USA in the 1995 CONMEBOL Copa América, 1996 Olympics, 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. He was never invited to play for Macedonia.

8. Nemanja Matić 01.08.1988 Serbia Serbia
– He currently plays for Manchester United, England. He was born in Šabac, Serbia but his mother is Macedonian, originally from the village of Volkovija near Tetovo. Matić is a current member of the Serbian national team with 48 caps/2 goals so far. In his senior career he played in Slovakia (Košice), the Netherlands (Vitesse), Portugal (Benfica) and England (Chelsea, Manchester United). He has won 1 Slovak Cup with Košice, 1 Portuguese league title, 1 Portuguese Cup, 2 Portuguese League Cups with Benfica, 3 Premier League titles, 1 FA Cup and 1 League Cup with Chelsea. He was named 2012/13 Portuguese Primeira Liga Player of the Year and he was named 2014 and 2015 Serbian Footballer of the Year. He represented Serbia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He was never invited to play for Macedonia.

photo: Peđa Milosavljević

9. Veljko Paunović 21.08.1977 Serbia Serbia

photo: Goal

– He finished his career and he’s currently unemployed. He was born in Strumica, Macedonia and his mother is Macedonian. He has 1 appearance for the national team of FR Yugoslavia and 1 as well for Serbia and Montenegro (both in the friendly matches) with 1 goal scored. In his senior career he played in Serbia (Partizan), Spain (Atlético Marbella, Atlético Madrid, Mallorca, Oviedo, Tenerife, Getafe, Almería), Germany (Hannover 96), Russia (Rubin) and USA (Philadelphia Union). He has won 1 La Liga title with Atlético, 1 Serbian championship and 1 Serbian Cup with Partizan. Paunović has also won 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup working as a head coach of the Serbian U20 national team. He refused the invitation of Macedonia hoping to play for Serbia but he never truly played for them.

photo: WorldFootball

10. Blerim Dzemaili 12.04.1986 Switzerland Switzerland
– He plays for Shēnzhèn, China. He was born in Tetovo, Macedonia, but his origins are from the nearby village of Bogovinje where he often visits. When he was 4 years old, his family moved to Zürich, Switzerland. Dzemaili (preffers Dzemaili although the original spelling is Džemaili) earned 69 caps/11 goals for the Swiss national team. In his senior career he played in Switzerland (Zürich), England (Bolton), Italy (Torino, Parma, Napoli, Genoa, Bologna), Turkey (Galatasaray), Canada (Montreal Impact) and China (Shēnzhèn). He has won 2 Swiss championships and 1 Swiss Cup with Zürich, 1 Turkish championship, 1 Turkish Cup and 1 Turkish Super Cup with Galatasaray, 2 Coppa Italia with Napoli. He represented Switzerland in the 2006, 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup and in the 2016 UEFA EURO. He was never invited to play for Macedonia. In both Napoli and Genoa he played alongside Goran Pandev.

photo: Vfl Wolfsburg

11. Admir Mehmedi 16.03.1991 Switzerland Switzerland
– He currently plays for Wolfsburg, Germany. He was born in Gostivar and when he was 2 years old his family moved to Bellinzona, Switzerland. He is a current member of the Swiss national team with 63 caps/9 goals so far. In his senior career Mehmedi played in Switzerland (Zürich), Ukraine (Dinamo) and Germany (Freiburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wolfsburg). He has won 1 Swiss championship with Zürich. He represented Switzerland in the 2012 Olympics, 2014 FIFA World Cup and in the 2016 UEFA EURO. He refused the invitation from Macedonia to play for Switzerland. During his time at Dinamo, he played alongside Goran Popov and in one occasion he told that he often wondered what a team Macedonia could have been if he played up front with Goran Pandev.

SUBSTITUTES

photo: Pinterest

12. Dime Jankulovski 19.07.1993 Sweden Sweden
– He finished his career and he’s currently the assistant coach of Västra Frölunda, Sweden. He was born in Göteborg, Sweden but he’s Macedonian by his father’s side, originally from the village of Brajchino, Resen. He has 1 appearance for the Swedish national team (friendly match). In his senior career he played in Sweden (Lundby, Västra Frölunda, AIK, Norrköping, Örgryte, GAIS, Häcken) and Norway (Start, Raufoss). He was never invited to play for Macedonia.

photo: The Laziali

13. Riza Durmisi 08.01.1994 Denmark Denmark
– He currently plays for Nice, France. He was born in Ishøj, Denmark but his father is from the village of Kamenjane near Tetovo. The original spelling of his surname is Durmiši, but he prefers Durmisi which lead to be wrongly pronounced in Denmark. He has 23 caps for the Danish national team. In his senior career Durmisi played in Denmark (Brøndby), Spain (Betis), Italy (Lazio) and France (Nice). He has won 1 Coppa Italia and 1 Supercoppa with Lazio. He refused the invitation from Macedonia to play for Denmark.

photo: worldfootball

14. Semih Kaya 24.02.1991 Turkey Turkey
– He plays for Sparta, Czechia. He was born in Bergama, Turkey but he’s of Macedonian origin by his father’s side. He has 23 caps for the Turkish national team. In his senior career he played in Turkey (Galatasaray, Gaziantepspor, Kartalspor) and Czechia (Sparta). Kaya has won 4 Turkish championships, 4 Turkish Cups and 4 Turkish Super Cups with Galatasaray. He has represented Turkey at the 2016 UEFA EURO. He was never invited to play for Macedonia.

photo: Cope

15. Igor Taševski 25.07.1972 Serbia Serbia
– He finished his career and currently serves as assistant manager at Villareal B, Spain. He was born in Belgrade, Serbia but he’s Macedonian by his father’s side, originally from the town of Kavadarci. He was SFR Yugoslavia’s U21 national team member just before it fall a part in 1992. In his senior career Taševski played in Serbia (Partizan, Voždovac) and Spain (Villareal, Elche, Sporting Gijon). He has won 2 championships and 1 Cup in FR Yugoslavia with Partizan. He refused the invitation of Macedonia hoping to play for Yugoslavia but he never played for them.

photo: Football Paradise

16. Uroš Matić 23.05.1990 Serbia Serbia
– He currently plays for APOEL, Cyprus. He was born in Šabac, Serbia but his mother is Macedonian, originally from the village of Volkovija near Tetovo. He was called up to join the Serbian national team in 2017 but he doesn’t have any appearances so far. In his senior career he played in Slovakia (Košice), Portugal (Benfica B), the Netherlands (NAC Breda), Austria (Sturm, Austria Wien), Denmark (København) and Cyprus (APOEL). Matić has won 1 Danish championship and 1 Danish Cup with København. He accepted the invitation of the Macedonian Football Federation in 2015 but FIFA didn’t allow him to play for Macedonia even though he was eligible by FIFA rights. The case wasn’t officially stopped and brought to an end.

17. Pajtim Kasami 02.06.1992 Switzerland Switzerland
– He is currently without club. He was born in Andelfingen, Switzerland but he is originally from the Struga region by his father’s side. He has 12 caps/2 goals for the Swiss national team. In his senior career Kasami played in Switzerland (Bellinzona, Luzern, Sion), Italy (Palermo), England (Fulham, Notthingam Forest) and Greece (Olympiacos). He has won 2 Greek championships and 1 Greek Cup with Olympiacos and has won the gold medal in the 2010 FIFA U17 World Cup representing Switzerland. He represented Switzerland in the 2012 Olympics. He refused the invitation from Macedonia in order to play for Switzerland.

photo: Fifa

18. Yksel Osmanovski 24.02.1977 Sweden Sweden
– He finished his career and currently works as an assistant coach for Malmö U21, Sweden. He was born in Malmö, Sweden but he’s originally from the town of Resen, Macedonia. He has 15 caps/2 goals for the Swedish national team. In his senior career he has played in Sweden (Malmö), Italy (Bari, Torino) and France (Bordeaux). Osmanovski represented Sweden in the 2000 UEFA EURO. He was never invited to play for Macedonia.

photo: Aftonbladet

photo: Zimbio

photo: Zimbio

19. Alexander Kačaniklić 13.08.1991 Sweden Sweden
– He currently plays for Hammarby, Sweden. He was born in Helsingborg, Sweden but he’s originally from Volkovo, a suburb of Skopje, by his father’s side. He is a current member of the Swedish national team with 21 caps/3 goals so far. In his senior career he played in England (Fulham, Watford, Burnley), Denmark (København), France (Nantes) and Sweden (Hammarby). Kačaniklić has won 1 Danish Cup with København. When Alexander started to play on senior level at his clubs FFM tried to get him but he refused the invitation from Macedonia to continue to play for Sweden.

20. Dejan Kuluševski 25.04.2000 Sweden Sweden
– He currently plays for Parma, Italy. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden but he’s originally from the Ohrid region. He is a current member of the Swedish national team with 1 appearance so far. In his senior career he played in Italy (Atalanta, Parma). Kuluševski is one of the most talented Swedish players. He was a member of Macedonian U16 national team but decided to refuse the invitations from Macedonia in order to represent Sweden. Although Dejan is only 20 years old, he’s already a quality footballer. If he continues at this pace of career development, he will surely compete for a place in the starting eleven in the future, when we make a new retrospective.

photo: Talentshunter

photo: Zimbio

21. Ivica Iliev 27.10.1979 Serbia Serbia
– He finished his career and he is currently unemployed. He was born in Belgrade, Serbia but he’s Macedonian by his father’s side. He has 2 caps/1 goal for the national team of Serbia and Montenegro. In his senior career he has played in Serbia (Partizan), Italy (Messina, Genoa), Greece (PAOK), Germany (Energie Cottbus), Israel (Maccabi Tel Aviv) and Poland (Wisła). He has won 2 championships and 2 Cups in FR Yugoslavia with Partizan, 1 championship in Serbia and Montenegro with Partizan, 1 Serbian championship and 1 Serbian Cup with Partizan. Iliev was 2010/11 Serbian championship Top Scorer. He refused the first invitation from Macedonia to play for Serbia and Montenegro. After several years he declared that he is willing to represent Macedonia but the national team coach in that period, Srečko Katanec, considered that he didn’t need him in the team.

photo: Pinterest

22. Semih Şenturk 29.04.1983 Turkey Turkey
– He finished his career and he is currently unemployed. He was born in Izmir, Turkey but he’s originally from
the village of Drazhilovo near Skopje by his father’s side. He has 29 caps/9 goals for the Turkish national team. In his senior career he played in Turkey (Izmirspor, Fenerbahçe, Antalyaspor, Istanbul Başakşehir, Eskişehirspor). He has won 5 Turkish championship, 2 Turkish Cups and 2 Turkish Super Cups with Fenerbahçe. He was 2007/08 Süper Lig Top Scorer as well as 2006/07 Turkish Cup Top Scorer. Şenturk has represented Turkey in the 2008 UEFA EURO. He was never invited to play for Macedonia.

23. Dejan Stojanović 19.07.1993 Austria Austria
– He currently plays for Middlesbrough, England. He was born in Feldkirch, Austria but he’s originally from Kumanovo by his father’s side. In his senior career he played in Austria (Lustenau 07), Italy (Bologna, Crotone), Switzerland (St. Gallen) and England (Middlesbrough). He has 2 caps for the Macedonian U21 national team (friendly matches). Stojanović renounced Macedonian citizenship in favor of the Austrian one and therefore did not continue to represent Macedonia at the senior level.

photo: Gazette Live

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