After reviewing the performances of First League players over the 2013/14 season, we draw up a list of the best starting 11.
We compiled stats such as games played, goals, assists and clean sheets to determine which players deserved to be on the team. There were tough choices to be made on several positions, finally we decided to go with the following line-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Keep in mind that we considered just players who appeared at least in half of the possible games, besides it was important for us to take into account a suitable position for the players.
Unlike last year, this time we have 12 players listed on the bench. Since the World Cup is in progress plus we had a very tough job to reduce the selection on just 7 reserves, we decided to go with 23 players, 11 best and 12 on bench, just like the teams at the World Cup in Brazil.
Andreja Efremov (Metalurg) – M30 GC27 CS14 Y2 R0
Despite of his young age the 21-year-old Efremov was the best goalkeeper. He conceded 27 goals in 30 games, but played a big part in Metalurg’s successful season with his stabilizing charisma and great saves.
Aleksandar Varelovski (Turnovo) – M32 G0 Y6 R1
It was a very tough choice between Vladica Brdarovski and Varelovski, eventually we selected the latter. Varelovski not only demonstrated quality in the defense and offense, he is also helpful because of his versatility as he is able to play everywhere in the defensive line.
Gjoko Zajkov (Rabotnichki) – M27 G1 Y7 R0
Born in 1995 Zajkov is the youngest player in the team of the year. In spite of his inexperience Rabotnichki gave Zajkov a chance and the young centre back helped his club to gain the championship title. His progress was also noticed outside Macedonia and thus he moved to French club Rennes.
Risto Mitrevski (Metalurg) – M31 G2 Y6 R1
Mitrevski is a strong and tough defender and was Metalurg’s leader in the defense and one of the key players in general. Mitrevski recently left Metalurg and signed for aspiring Bosnian side Sarajevo.
Ardian Cuculi (Shkendija) – M33 G0 Y4 R1
Shkendija had a bad start in the season and was in the battle against relegation, later on the team made an impressive run and now they will take part in the Europa League qualifications. Cuculi started in all league games and convinced as known with fighting spirit and team play.
Ljubomir Stevanović (Metalurg) – M29 G3 Y7 R0
The Serbian international is a versatile midfielder who can help his team on several positions. Without question he is one of the leagues best midfielders, not just this season, also since his arrival in the summer of 2011. Unfortunataly he left Metalurg and won’t help them in the Europa League qualifications.
Artim Polozhani (Shkendija) – M31 G4 Y10 R1
Being 31-years-old Polozhani is the oldest player in our selection. The experience of Shkendija’s captain was crucial for the eventually fruitful last season.
Blagoja Todorovski (Rabotnichki) – M32 G6 Y7 R0
Rabotnichki’s captain Todorovski is a versatile and experienced player. The winger is not the star of the team, nevertheless he is always there to help his team with convincing performances. His deadly crosses created many of Rabotnichki’s goals this season.
Krste Velkoski (Rabotnichki) – M18 G14 Y2 R0
Velkoski played just until the winter break in Macedonia, but his appearances were so impressive that it’s not possible to imagine a team of the season without him. Velkoski moved to Sarajevo where he directly continued with fantastic performances and turned into a crowd pleaser.
Dejan Blazhevski (Turnovo) – M18 G19 Y5 R0
Just like Velkoski, last years best player Blazevski left Macedonia during the winter break. 18 games were enough to score 19 goals and thus to be the top goalscorer this past season.
Borche Manevski (Rabotnichki) – M28 G17 Y1 R0
Last summer Manevski moved to Rabotnichki as he had problems to adapt to Vardar. Manevski turned out to be a great addition by scoring 17 goals and providing numerous assists. Manevski has an unusual style of play, but he is a constant threat to the opponents defense.
GK Marko Jovanovski (Shkendija) – M30 GC28 CS15 Y0 R0
Jovanovski returned to Shkendija from Cyprus and immediately solved the problem on the goalkeeper position.
GK Stojan Dimovski (Turnovo) – M32 GC33 CS12 Y1 R0
Dimovski maybe isn’t a complete goalkeeper, but year after year he shows good performances between Turnovo’s posts.
RB Vladica Brdarovski (Pelister) – M27 G0 Y9 R0
Pelister went through a season of ups and downs, but Brdarovski had a good season with a lot of impressive games on the right back position.
CB Hristijan Dragarski (Pelister) – M28 G2 Y7 R1
He was one of the bright spots in Pelister’s team. Dragarski is a fighter on the field who always gives everything for his team.
CB Milan Ilievski (Rabotnichki) – M31 G0 Y2 R0
The former right back last season played mainly on the centre back position and Ilievski adopted without problems helping his team with experience and vision.
LB Aleksandar Milushev (Rabotnichki) – M33 G1 Y1 R0
Although being a left back Milusev is a constant threat for the opponent as he is very active in the offense.
CM Riste Markoski (Napredok/Bregalnica) – M32 G5 Y7 R0
Markoski was one of the best players in Napredok’s disastrous team and continued in Shtip his good form. He is a complete midfielder, robust and strong in the defense, but also useful in the offense. Moreover he is dreaded because of his powerful shot.
CM Nikolay Hristov (Pelister) – M26 G0 Y10 R2
The Bulgarian played his first season in Macedonia and immediately took an important role in Pelister’s system.
W Marjan Radeski (Metalurg) – M32 G7 Y6 R0
FFM’s young player for 2013 received a lot of playing time and he knew how to use the oppurtunity as he repeatadly exhibited his talent.
AMC Izair Emini (Renova) – M22 G9 Y3 R0
Emini is for years one of the better offensive players of the league and this past season he was the most important player in Renova’s offense.
W Stênio Júnior (Pelister/Shkendija) – M27 G13 Y7 R1
The Brazilian made directly a big impact in Bitola, after what Shkendija bought him in the winter transfer period. He adopted quickly and continued at Shkendija where he stopped in Pelister.
CF Muzafer Ejupi (Turnovo) – M28 G15 Y6 R0
His game is not as spectacular as the game of his former teammate Blazhevski, but Ejupi’s goals were one of the main reasons for Turnovo’s success.
Legend: M – matches played; GC – goals conceded; CS – clean sheet; G – goals scored; Y – yellow cards received; R – red cards received.