Ilco Naumoski (L); photo:

Ilco Naumoski: I’m a folk hero in Macedonia

Ilco Naumoski (L); photo: svm-fan.netIlco Naumoski conducted an interesting interview with an Austrian newspaper today where he said him and Goran Pandev are folk heroes in Macedonia and looking back, he would have preferred to represent Austria.

A lot of people will disagree with the statement that Naumoski is a folk hero in Macedonia.  As a matter of fact, Naumoski is not well liked by the Macedonian fans and usually faces a lot of criticism, only matched by Velice Sumulikoski.  Ilco was asked by Austrian newspaper about being a polarizing player with a lot of negative headlines in Austria to which he responded, “In Macedonia, I have a completely different reputation.  With Goran Pandev, I am a folk hero.  People will never forget our surprises, such as those against England, with the national team.  In my time with Macedonia, I have never been shown a red card and have few yellow cards.  How would this be explained?”

Well, we looked at the numbers and the talk about him having few yellow cards with the Macedonian national team is just not true.  According to the stats on FFM’s website, Naumoski has compiled 14 yellow cards in 43 matches.  That is nearly one yellow card every three matches which is pretty high considering Naumoski is a striker.

That was not it.  Naumoski was then asked by the website about how he chose Macedonia over Austria and it seems that his first option was to represent Austria.

Naumoski noted, “The Austrian football association made a mistake.  I was invited to play for the Austrian U17 national team in a friendly, led by Paul Gludovatz at that time.  I played good and then the coach wanted to invite me to play in a qualifier against Slovenia.  I told the coach that I did not have Austrian nationality.  Gludovatz then said he did not know that and goodbye.  Shortly after that, at only 18 years old, I scored my first goal in the Austrian Bundesliga for GAK against Rapid Wien.  I also played for GAK in Champions League qualifiers before Macedonia came calling.”

Ilco was then asked whether he would have liked to play for Austria?  He responded, “Austria? Yes! This is my home.  I’m glad to be able to live here and am grateful for everything.”

So, Naumoski is another player that would have preferred to represent Austria over Macedonia.  Naumoski was originally born in Prilep but spent most of his childhood in Austria.  A lot of people have been calling him a patriot for his decision to choose Macedonia over Austria but after this interview, it is pretty obvious that his first option was to represent Austria.

Ilco was asked why is he still playing for Mattersburg at 28 years old?  He replied, “Good question.  As for my quality, I would have been playing for a bigger club but I like Mattersburg and respect the President very much.  I am happy here and decided to stay, despite many offers.  The climate is good and Martin Pucher, the President, is the best person in the world for me.  He is very clever as with limited resources, Mattersburg has remained a fixture in the top flight of Austrian football.”

Does this interview change your opinion of Ilco Naumoski?  There was a heated debate on this website several weeks ago after Dejan Stojanović chose to represent Austria over Macedonia.  We used Ilco Naumoski as an example of a patriot but it seems he too would have preferred to suit up for Austria.  Only after not having Austrian nationality, he chose to represent Macedonia.  Naumoski has since made 43 appearances for Macedonia and has scored nine goals.

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