Chuma Anene and Vlatko Grozdanoski; photo:

5 questions with Rabotnichki FW Chuma Anene

Chuma Anene and Vlatko Grozdanoski; photo: sportmedia.mkHow does someone from Norway view the Macedonian league? With the season coming to a close, we raised that question, along with others, to Rabotnichki forward Chuma Anene.

Chuma Anene, 22, joined Rabotnichki last summer after spending all of his career before that in his birth country of Norway. Anene was a highly rated youngster who featured for the various age groups of the Norwegian youth national teams. However, in the summer of 2014, he found himself signing with Rabotnichki in the Macedonian league.

So, we wanted to get perspective from a player like Anene when it comes to football in Macedonia. How does he view the quality? Is it better, worse or about what he expected when he initially joined Rabotnichki? To answer those questions, we got in contact with Anene after Saturday’s game versus Shkendija.

Anene, currently in very good form, has netted 5 goals in the past four games. That includes a great strike that he scored in the Shkendija game on Saturday. He chested down a cross before firing a sideways shot, while falling down, to the back of the net.

Video of the goal that Anene recorded this past Saturday (at 3:15):

In our interview with Chuma, we talked about how he ended up at Rabotnichki, whether him coming to Macedonia was a culture shock and how he enjoys living in the country, among other things.

MF: Can you tell us the story of how you ended up at Rabotnichki?
CA: Well, I have to be honest when I say I was in fact very tired of playing in the Norwegian league, and I wanted to get out. The 2-3 months before I left I played in ”Adeccoligaen”, which it was called back then. A division under Tippeligaen. The representatives from Rabotnichki came in touch with me and convinced me that they had a good plan for me, and that this would be a place I could develop myself further. So, I took the chance and I agreed with my club in Norway that we would end the agreement, based on the thought that this was a better opportunity for me to come here. After a while, I left Norway and joined Rabotnichki at their preparations in Slovenia, and that’s how it all started.

MF: Once you arrived in Macedonia, was it a culture shock at first? Did you need time to adapt to your new surroundings?
CA: Not so much a culture shock at first. The funny thing is that I did not really notice the big culture difference before I had been here, because I was so focused on just doing well and trying to take the next step as soon as possible. But, as it turns out, I needed patience and that made me have to adapt more to my surroundings and the people, quickly finding out that learning the language, ways of people around me, etc, was a key factor in order for me to achieve anything.

MF: With the season now coming to a close, what is your impression of the Macedonian league? Is the quality better, worse or what you expected?
CA: I think the Macedonian league is underrated. It’s better than most people would assume, but of course, as a lot of other leagues, it is under developed, but I believe that it will get better over the years. Especially the system of fewer teams in the first league is in my opinion one of the things that contribute to the quality. There are less uninteresting games and there is more competition. And, even though it might not seem like that for many, coming from a ”better league”, I am pretty confident I have grown as a player both mentally, technically, and physically during my time here.

MF: You have scored 5 goals in the past four games. Do you notice something different that you’re doing now as opposed to earlier in this campaign? What role has comfort and confidence played in your success?
CA: I think the patience I had to have played a big role as well. There is no doubt there were times I thought: ”I might as well just not do this, because I made a big mistake coming here from the start”. And I am pretty confident there were times that the faith in me from my teammates and other people close to the team was tested and bended to the point of snatching. Although it sounds weird, that time, I became a person that lived with no pressure, and knew I would appreciate the time the goal came, because it was not like I didn’t create chances. But confidence and comfort definitely played a bigger part after a while. And when the belief became stronger, from both me and my teammates, then I also grew stronger. So, now I like to think that I don’t play with stress, but I still see that I can do what I am doing now, week in and week out. There is no limit in my head.

MF: Lastly, do you enjoy living in Macedonia? What are some of your favorite spots to visit during your free time? Also, who are your best friends on the team?
CA: I’ve come to love this place a lot. I have a lot of different spots I go to. I like to go to church on Sundays and Thursdays, and a lot of times I go to coffee places with my teammates. Coffee places such as Broz, Juice Bar and so on. And then there is the bowling place in City Mall that I like a lot. I have come to know so many on the team, and I feel like I have a strong bond with every one of them. Everyone made efforts in making me feel welcome and comfortable from the start, and for that I really owe them a lot. My roommate when I joined them at the preparations was Stephan Vujcic, and he is still my roommate whenever we go places to spend the night. His personality instantly made me feel welcome. But all the ”older” players like Milan Illievski, Bazhe Ilijoski and Bazhe Todorovski took care of me, as well as the younger players. So, we definitely are a team with a big T and a small family.

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