Interview with Yani Urdinov

Urdinov defending Quaresma in his debut against Portugal; photo: FacebookYani Urdinov, who recently completed a transfer to Polish outfit Widzew Łódź, is the latest player to be featured in the interview series on our site.

Yani Urdinov was born in the Belgian city of Mechelen and spent his early days in football within the youth categories of that team before moving to the Netherlands in 2007.  He then moved to the youth team of famed Dutch club PSV Eindhoven where he lasted for a couple of years before signing with Roda.  At Roda, Urdinov played for the youth team as well and was teammates with the Stankov twins, Aleksandar and Antonio.

In 2011, after Yani did not get a chance to play for the first team of Roda, he decided to move to Rabotnichki of the Macedonian league.  However, based on his response to one of our questions, Urdinov called his time with Rabotnichki the most difficult in his career.  He acknowledged that he played poorly as he could not adapt to the drastic difference in conditions between Belgium/Netherlands and Macedonia.

After his brief time with Rabotnichki, Urdinov then took his services to Lithuania in the 2012 winter transfer window.  He signed with Ekranas where he quickly established himself as the starter at left-back.  During his one year there, Ekranas won the league title which allowed Urdinov to partake in the UEFA Champions League qualifications.  Ekranas managed to eliminate Shamrock Rovers in the second qualifying round, but then they were trounced by Anderlecht in the third qualifying round.

Yani, after his one year stay in Lithuania, then decided to sign with Željezničar in Bosnia.  He quickly became a starter at left-back and established himself as a fan favorite among the Željezničar supporters.  Urdinov, though, had a contract with the Bosnian side only until the end of 2013, but the two sides could not agree financial terms on a new deal so Urdinov announced that he will be seeking a new club in the 2014 winter transfer window.  He ultimately signed in Poland with Widzew Łódź, a club that is currently bottom of the table at the conclusion of the first half of the 2013-14 season.

As for his international career, Urdinov, who turns 23 years old in two months, was formerly a regular for the Macedonian U21 national team before he made his debut for the senior national team in May of 2012.  His first cap came in the friendly against Portugal when John Toshack was the manager of Macedonia.  He then played in the subsequent two friendlies as well, bringing his total to 3 caps, but afterwards the new manager who replaced the sacked Toshack, Chedomir Janevski, did not call up Urdinov to any squad during the 2014 World Cup qualifications.

In our talks with Urdinov, we discussed his time with Rabotnichki and Željezničar, his memories of his debut for the senior national team of Macedonia in the friendly against Portugal, whether he was surprised not to get a chance in the 2014 World Cup qualifications and why he chose to sign with Widzew Łódź.

Here is our question and answer session with Urdinov:

MF: Yani, after your football beginnings in Belgium and the Netherlands, you signed with Rabotnicki in 2011. How would you rate your experience with Rabotnichki? Were the conditions and infrastructure what you expected?
YU: No, honestly that was the most difficult time of my career.  I could not adapt as the change was too drastic, and I didn’t play well because I didn’t feel good at all.

MF: Before you signed in Poland, you last played for Željezničar where you were a fan favorite? What is your best memory from your time in Bosnia?
YU: Every memory is good from Željo.  I had so much fun every training and every game I played with my whole heart.  The thing I will never forget are the maniacs who were amazing fans.

MF: You were formerly a regular for the U21 national team, and made your debut for the senior national team in May of 2012 against Portugal? What do you most remember about that game?
YU: I remember before that game I was nervous and Mr. Toshack just told me to enjoy the game and you will do fine.  Then I felt better and in the game everything went pretty good.  I played not too bad.

MF: Were you surprised that you didn’t get chance in the past qualifications for the 2014 World Cup? If you could, what would you tell new manager Boshko Gjurovski about what you can bring to the national team?
YU: Yes, very surprised, but that is football.  I played in 3 games before the start of those qualifications and afterwards I wasn’t even in the squad.  But, that is not for me to speak about.  I can only keep on training and playing well, and hopefully Mr. Gjurovski will see this.  I can bring a good team spirit in the squad.  I am very positive and play every game with my whole heart.

MF: Lastly, what went into your decision to sign with Widzew Łódź? What are your expectations with your new club?
YU: Widzew is a big club with a rich history and great fans.  Also, there is a good and disciplined coach so it wasn’t a very difficult decision for me to choose this club.  We have a very young team with talent and I think that we will be able to keep our status in the Polish top division.

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