Zlatko Tanevski from Polish club KKS Lech Poznań is the only Macedonian player after 11 years who "survived" in the European competitions and will represent Macedonia in the UEFA Cup.
Born on August 3, 1983, in Skopje, Zlatko Tanevski started his career in Vardar where he trained with the coach Meto Spasovski. At age of 19 he signed his first professional contract with Vardar and was later loaned in Alumina and Cementarnica 55. He represented Macedonia on ten matches for the U19 and six matches for the Macedonian U21 national team. Two years ago he started his international career in Polish club KKS Lech from Poznań.
Mitko Stojkovski in 1998 with VfB Stuttgart played in the UEFA Cup final. No Macedonian player since then "survuved" the winter and played in the European competitions in the spring. After the big break, Zlatko Tanevski saves Macedonian pride this season with Lech's matches against Italian club Udinese in the UEFA Cup.
– "It is a great feeling to play in a competition such as the UEFA cup. You have a chance to play with proven European clubs and players, and I am proud to be the only Macedonian that continued in the UEFA Cup in the spring part, too.
I wasn't among the first squad on the first match against Udinese. I was on the substitutes bench (and not as it was written in some Macedonian newspapers that I lost the place in the team because of an injury) and I will wait for a chance by our coach. Considering the chances for advancing, of course we can go through with good tactics and a little bit more luck. They are favorites, but no one is invincible", said Zlatko.
It's obvious that the quality of the Polish, unlike the Macedonian football, is growing in the last years, so we asked Zlatko to present us his club and the Polish league and make a small comparation with Macedonia.
– "Lech Poznań is a club with great tradition in Poland. The club is in uptrend which is visible by the European matches. The popularity of football as a sport in Poland is on high level, the league matches are played in front of huge number of fans. For example, when we play at home, we play in front of 17.000 people and when there's a derby (against Legia or Wisła) up to 25.000 people are on the stadium. The popularity grows even further with the sports shows that are on the TV stations. There are up to 4 live coverages per round, and after every finished round there's a detailed review of every match, which unfortunately is not the case in Macedonia. Matches are played in front of 100 people, and sports TV shows hardly even exist, which is a great handicap for the football and the sports in overall".
Zlatko Tanevski in Lech Poznań, Pance Kumbev in Legia Warszawa, Filip Ivanovski and Vlade Lazarevski in Polonia Warszawa make a small colony of Macedonian footballers in Poland. Is there any special motivation when you play against each other and do you associate in the free time?
– "Of course I mainly use my free time for socializing with other Macedonians in Poland, and regarding the matches, of course there's rivalry and the motivation is big. Especially when we play against Polonia Warszawa because Filip Ivanovski is an attacker and on those matches I have one aim – everyone can score, except Filip. 🙂 Of course, when playing against Legia and Pance Kumbev the motivation is also high, but i don't have many direct duels with him as he's a defender like me".
Knowing the fact that Tanevski is in playing in good form for the leading team in the Polish league and also has successful performances in the UEFA Cup, the Macedonian football fans expect to see you in the national team soon. What are your expectations?
– "It is the biggest honour and the highest grade for your efforts and work if you get an invitation for a cap for the national team. However, I still haven't received one but I am not disappointed. On the contrary, it is my motivation to continue with hard work and then it will only be up to the coach to decide whether he will call me and when".