Boban Babunski made some changes by including several players from the U21 team and dropping some key veterans.
The manager for the Azerbaijan friendly on 10 August, Boban Babunski, made a splash with some of his player selections as the squad for the game was announced. We can call it a “youth movement” as Aleksandar Trajkovski, Samir Fazli, Stefan Spirovski, Vladimir Dimitrovski, to go along with Stefan Ristovski and Ferhan Hasani were all included in the Macedonian squad to face Azerbaijan. Veterans like Nikolce Noveski, Boban Grncarov, Ilco Naumoski, Mario Gjurovski, Filip Despotovski, and Edin Nuredinoski were dropped by Babunski and did not make the squad for this upcoming friendly. All the young players have played for Babunski on the U21 national team and they will be given a chance to impress and inject some energy into the senior national team.
Here is the 19 player squad for the Azerbaijan friendly:
Martin Bogatinov – Karpaty, Ukraine
Tome Pacovski – Germinal Beerschot, Belgium
Stefan Ristovski – Crotone, Italy
Vance Sikov – Volyn, Ukraine
Daniel Mojsov – Vojvodina, Serbia
Vladimir Dimitrovski – Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic
Goran Popov – Dynamo Kyiv, Ukraine
Aleksandar Lazevski – Partizan, Serbia
Velice Sumulikoski – Sibir, Russia
Muhamed Demiri – Thun, Switzerland
Slavco Georgievski – Neftçi, Azerbaijan
Vlatko Grozdanoski – Vardar
Stefan Spirovski – Borac Čačak, Serbia
Goran Pandev – Inter, Italy
Ivan Trickovski – APOEL, Cyprus
Ferhan Hasani – Shkendija
Agim Ibraimi – Maribor, Slovenia
Aleksandar Trajkovski – Zulte Waregem, Belgium
Samir Fazli – Heerenveen, Netherlands
It is also worth noting that defender Igor Mitreski will be added to the team as long as he recovers from his injury. We welcome the young players being given a shot but you can make a case for maybe Vladimir Dimitrovski and Samir Fazli not deserving a chance at this point. Dimitrovski was in good form last season but lately, he has been playing for the Mladá Boleslav B team while Fazli has not received much playing time at Heerenveen. There has been talk of Fazli being loaned out which would be good for him to receive regular playing time so he can continue to develop as a player. From the veterans that made the team, many Macedonian fans will not be happy to see Sumulikoski and Georgievski on the team but out midfield depth is atrocious and there are not better alternatives. We can make a case that Tome Pacovski has no business being on the team. Pacovski was out for a long time with an injury and is expected to be the backup keeper for Beerschot this season. A keeper who will be a backup for his club team should not be summoned to the national team in our opinion but Martin Bogatinov will probably remain as the starter of the senior national team. Also, Lazevski made the national team but he will probably withdraw as he is still out with an injury for Partizan.
The friendly against Azerbaijan will be played in Baku on 10 August 2011. Macedonia has played Azerbaijan four times up to this point and we have collected three wins with one draw. The last meeting between these two teams was during the summer of 2010 when Macedonia recorded a 3:1 friendly victory.