All-Time Low?

altMany football fans from Macedonia have one big question, can our beloved sport fall deeper? On the one hand this is a justified question because it seems that we are at the bottom of the European football, on the other hand the past teached us that football in Macedonia never stops sinking.

Being a football player in Macedonia you have one goal, leaving the country. This is the priority. But what direction? Coming out of such a bad league it’s hard to adjust even to a mediocre European league, for most of the players the gap is far too big. Playing football in Macedonia is not that tough, you don’t have to be very fast or in a great physical shape. Bad technique? No problem. Selfish game? Who cares? Overweight? Come on!alt

Macedonian football is ill! It’s not just the flu, it must be something of the worst kind. And there is no simple pill helping out, it will take hard rehabilitation work and a lot off time. But where can we start? To be honest, I don’t know. Too much is broken to give a quick and easy answer. Well, let’s start with an obvious problem, the pitches. Nearly no club in Macedonia has a pitch made of artificial turf. To train on a high level you nead either a pitch with natural grass in a good condition or pitches made of artificial turf. We miss both. Artificial turf is too expansive for the clubs, the yearly budget of some clubs from the first league is smaller than the price for one football pitch made of artificial turf. Sad but true. Is natural grass the solution? The climate in Macedonia is not optimal for natural grass, for example the summertime is very hot and dry and in autumn the heavy rain destroys the pitches. Most clubs are not willing to keep the pitches in a good shape. This is a big handicap. Our youth learns football on ‘farmland’ making it hard to play fast, let alone the high risk of injury. Nevertheless, we all know the financial situation in Macedonia, so it seems that natural grass has to be at least the middle-term solution. Money is an important factor in football, still many things can be improved without money or with few money. It’s unforgivable that almost nothing is done in sections where money is not the main criteria. If you don’t have much money, be creative. Hire more than one or two green keepers, it’s not expansive in Macedonia. A mediocre first league club from Macedonia has a yearly budget of 250.000-300.000 €, is it a big thing to spend additional 10.000 € per year for better pitches?

altWhat else is important and can be solved with few money? Football know-how. The coaches working for the youth teams of the Macedonian clubs don’t have the needed education, they are not up to date. But how can you become a good football player without having the chance to learn from someone who knows how modern football works? It’s not just the youth, even in the first league nothing is how it should be. Like I mentioned before, if you have a lack of money you have to be creative. Is it impossible to contact clubs of the bigger leagues asking them at least for know-how? Nikolce Noveski is Mainz’ captain, Goran Pandev playes for Inter, Oka Nikolov and Aleksandar Vasoski for Eintracht Frankfurt, so there is even the possibility to use Macedonians as a connection. For sure there are clubs that would help out, probable even clubs without Macedonians under contract. Maybe some club would send their fitness coach or nutritionist for a short period, at least they could send documents. The footballers in Macedonia are not really professionals compared to the footballers of the bigger leagues, not because of the wages, I mean the way of life, the football education. To be a real pro you have to live like one, to eat like a pro and to train like a pro. Unfortunately right now there is no big interest, not from the clubs, not from the players. In times of Internet it’s not a big problem for a young player to get information, but where is the initiative of one’s own?

In fact the problem is not just that our football is at the bottom, one big problem for us is that the rest of the world improves. Even countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Albania and Belarus are investing more and more in football whereas in Macedonia, well, you know it.

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