Manager Chedomir Janevski has announced a 21 player squad for the friendly match against Bulgaria, to be played on 14 August.
Janevski made a few changes to the squad which includes the return of players such as Stefan Spirovski and Jovan Kostovski. Spirovski will provide some depth at defensive midfield with the absence of both Muhamed Demiri (injury) and Veliche Shumulikoski, while Jovan Kostovski will have a chance to compete for the CF spot with Adis Jahovikj and Mirko Ivanovski. David Babunski of Barcelona B is once again called up, and this time is expected to make his debut for the senior national team. As a reminder, David was also included in the initial squad for the friendlies against Sweden and Norway this past June, but had to pull out due to club obligations.
From the comments that Janevski made announcing the squad, the most startling one was that FFM could not get in contact with Goran Popov. It appears they tried to bury the hatchet and move on from whatever happened last October that caused Popov to lose his spot on the team, but Goran would not answer to either Janevski or FFM technical secretary Mario Gjurchinovski, despite numerous attempts.
Thus, the squad is left without a natural left-back. Aleksandar Lazevski was left out as he is still without a club after his transfer to Hoverla fell through, while Blagoja Ljamchevski and Darko Glishikj were also dropped after they both failed to impress when given a chance in the Sweden and Norway friendlies. So, Stefan Ristovski is expected to fill in at left-back despite his natural position being right-back.
Boban Grncharov was excluded from the squad as he was ineligible to play due to picking up a red card in the Norway friendly. Other players, who have been regular call-ups under Janevski, but failed to make the squad this time include Darko Tasevski and Ferhan Hasani. Darko Tasevski lost his spot to David Babunski, while Hasani was left out due to lack of minutes with his club team Wolfsburg.
Here is the complete list of the players:
Tome Pachovski – Mechelen
Kristijan Naumovski – Dinamo București
Darko Tofiloski – Košice
Aleksandar Todorovski – Sturm
Daniel Georgievski – Steaua
Stefan Ristovski – Latina
Nikolche Noveski – Mainz
Vanche Shikov – Volyn
Daniel Mojsov – Brann
Daniel Ivanovski – Mjällby
Ostoja Stjepanovikj – Wisła
Nikola Gligorov – Xəzər
Stefan Spirovski – Borac Čačak
David Babunski – Barcelona B
Aleksandar Trajkovski – Zulte Waregem
Agim Ibraimi – Maribor
Ivan Trichkovski – Waasland-Beveren
Mirko Ivanovski – Astra
Goran Pandev – Napoli
Adis Jahovikj – Wil
Jovan Kostovski – Vardar
‘This is the final test before the upcoming qualifiers against Wales and Scotland, and we are going to take this very seriously. We expect a good performance with a good result as well’ – Chedomir Janevski told FFM’s official web site.