U21 summary: several diaspora cancellations

Macedonian U21 national team successfully started the qualifications for the 2021 EURO in Slovenia and Hungary by demolishing the Faroe Islands with 7:1, which is the highest victory of any of our U21 national teams since gaining independence.

photo by Talents Hunter: two of the most recent refusals


With this victory our guys showed that they are capable to repeat the success of the generation of footballers born in 1994 and younger, led by Blagoja Milevski as well, who took part at the 2017 EURO in Poland. That generation was the first national team in the history of Macedonian football who succeed in participating in a major football competition.

The matches against Montenegro and Kazakhstan in October will be a key indicator for the real quality of this team. With two wins at these matches the doors of the European Championship will be wide open. Another positive moment is the fact that the best player of this generation is Elif Elmas who is a member of our senior national team, so he can also be included if there is need for that.

What’s not well known to the public is that the presence of a few more players of Macedonian descent in this generation could make it even more competitive with the best European national teams, but unfortunately at the moment they are giving preference to their home countries. According to Zoran Zafirov, secretary of our U21 national team, during 2019 the invitation to wear the Macedonian jersey was rejected by the Swedes Besard Šabović (Dalkurd) and Marko Johansson (GAIS), the Swiss born Amel Rustemoski (Grasshoppers) and Valon Hamdiu (Winterthur), Slovenian Daniel Pavlev (Chievo) and Australian James Delianov (Western United). These players are continuing the trend of many of their predecessors who decided to refuse the invitation to represent Macedonia although few years later their decision proved to be wrong because most of them had a small number of appearances for their home countries or did not receive a call at all.

We hope that coach Blagoja Milevski and his team will have successful qualifications and will prove that Macedonia have enough quality footballers who can make a success without the help of those who do not want to play for it.

A list of players that refused an invitation to play for Macedonia (1992 – 2019):

player / current club / country of club / national team he opted for

Admir Mehmedi – Wolfsburg Germany / Switzerland
Adrian Bajrami – Benfica Portugal / Albania
Aleksandar Ignjovski – Holstein Kiel Germany / Serbia
Aleksandar Kovačević – 1860 München Germany / Germany
Alexander Kačaniklić – Hammarby Sweden / Sweden
Amel Rustemoski – Grasshoppers Switzerland / Switzerland
Benjamin Kantarovski – Newcastle Jets /
Besard Šabović – Dalkurd Sweden / Sweden
Christopher Naumoff – retired /
Daniel Pavlev – Chievo Italy / Slovenia
Dejan Kulushevski – Parma Italy / Sweden
Dejan Trajkovski – Puscás Akadémia Hungary / Slovenia
Deniz Hümmet – Elfsborg Sweden / Turkey
Eldis Bajrami – No club/ Austria
Emir Murati – Rende Italy / Croatia
Emre Mor – Galatasaray Turkey / Turkey
Erdal Rakip – Malmö Sweden / Sweden
Eros Grezda – Rangers Scotland / Albania
Erten Ersu – Fenerbahçe Turkey / Turkey
Florent Sopi – Malmö Sweden / Sweden
Haris Hajradinović – Kasimpaşa Turkey / Bosnia and Herzegovina
Igor Taševski – retired / Serbia
James Delianov – Western United /
Lindon Selahi – Twente Netherlands / Albania
Luka Marković – Torino Italy / Serbia
Lumturim Selmani – Rothrist Switzerland / Switzerland
Marko Johansson – GAIS Sweden / Sweden
Marko Pavlovski – Varzim Portugal / Serbia
Muamet Asanovski – Prespa Birlik Sweden / Sweden
Naser Aliji – Honvéd Hungary / Albania
Orhan Mustafi – Hakoah Zürich Switzerland / Switzerland
Pajtim Kasami – Sion Switzerland / Switzerland
Qendrim Rizvani – Thun Switzerland / Albania
Riza Durmiši – Lazio Italy / Denmark
Serdar Aziz – Fenerbahçe Turkey / Turkey
Shkodran Mustafi – Arsenal England / Germany
Steve Kuzmanovski – St. George Saints /
Valon Ahmedi – No club/ Albania
Valon Hamdiu – Winterthur Switzerland / Kosovo
Veljko Paunović – retired / Serbia
Zia Šakirovski – Rosengård Sweden / Sweden

A list of players that played for Macedonia then choose to play for another country (1992 – 2019):

Adrian Hajdari – Rapid Austria / Austria
Arbin Zejnulai – Shkendija Macedonia / Albania
Besir Demiri – Žilina Slovakia / Albania
Dejan Stojanović – St. Gallen Switzerland / Austria
Isnik Alimi – Imolese Italy / Albania
Jasir Asani – Partizani Albania / Albania
Musa Mevmedoski – Klagenfurt Austria / Slovenia
Nikola Sekulov – Juventus Italy / Italy
Omar Imeri – Shkendija Macedonia / Albania
Shefit Shefiti – Shkendija Macedonia / Albania
Stefan Despotovski – Crvena zvezda Serbia / Serbia
Tauljant Sulejmanov – Neuchâtel Xamax Switzerland / Albania
Valon Ethemi – Kukësi Albania / Albania

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