The Macedonian football is sick...

Pance Kjumbev: Our football lies sick

The Macedonian football is sick...Defender Pance Kjumbev wrote a column on his facebook profile about Macedonia’s recent defeat to Luxembourg that attracted a lot attention.  With his permission, we present you the entire text translated in English.

"You can understand me differently, maybe someone will get angry, some might take this the wrong way, but I simply have to give my own opinion for the most important thing…
Of course, the occasion is the last result of our national team… we lost 2:1 to Luxembourg.  Yes, we lost and that’s why the sport is interesting… Anyone can beat anyone and anyone can lose to anyone.  And someone will say that it hurts to lose to Luxembourg. Yes, it hurts, it hurts me as a footballer. But, in what are we better than them, of Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino in terms of a footballing plan?  Only in two things, in the talented kids and the sports genes that are part of every person from the Balkans.  In everything else, we are 100 years in reverse.
Someone will say that I’m wrong, however, here, I will try to explain.  Afterwards, we’ll see who understands me.
Why do 90% of the people here think that the national teams mentioned above are amateur, yet we are not?  Do you think that their leagues are more amateur than our league?  Let me start from the beginning.
Our first league has 12 “professional” teams.  Do you know how many of them are really professional, how many actually fulfill even the most basic conditions for competing?  Maybe 2-3, ok lets say 3-4.  Not more than that, I can guarantee.  Let me start from the beginning.

1. Work conditions (side football pitches, equipment, medical staff, dressing rooms, team of experts)
As I stated earlier, only 3-4 teams have these conditions.  I wouldn’t play with the names so I don’t upset anyone.  Did you know that our players are wearing equipment that is 10-15 years old, only 3 or 4 teams have football pitches for training, aside from the main stadium, let alone fitness facilities.  In the clubs, there are no doctors, physiotherapists, there’s no one to give you a pill if you have a headache.  Our players do not know things such as vitamins, minerals, sports diet.  You do not become a footballer by eating ajvar and margarine.  Did you know that the dressing rooms in Tetovo are without water, electricity and toilets?  At the same time, Tetovo has produced the past 2 champions in Macedonia.  Did you know that in Kicevo there are no hangers, but rather you place equipment on nails which are hanging from the wall while there’s no toilet, instead there’s a hole in the middle of the bathroom?  Did you know that the visiting dressing rooms in Kratovo, Prilep and Stip are about 3 square meters big, and the players must enter in groups since there’s not enough room?  Do you know where the youth talents are training in Macedonia?  In the parks, with no proper equipment whatsoever.  All due respect for the rare exceptions.
And what are the work conditions in the so-called amateur countries?  Each of them have a sports complex, with training pitches, with pitches that have artificial grass with saunas, gyms and new equipment… And, who’s the amateur now?  Us or them?

2. Professionalism??
Did you know that 70% of the footballers in Macedonia are amateurs?  Did you know that for 70% of them, they are not paid social insurance, medical insurance, and pensions?  You know that if, god forbid, a footballer gets injured, the club can remove him from the team and not pay for his operation, treatment, and rehab.  Did you know that in half the league, the players receive a salary of 150 to 200 euros and not regularly at that?

3. Quality of the league
Honestly and without false pretenses, certainly we are among the bottom 3-4 leagues in Europe when it comes to quality and even worse, among the first 3-4 leagues for lack of quality.  I’m talking about the quality of the league, not the players.  Over here, it can happen for people to enter the locker room with a gun and to to tell you that you must lose today.  Yes, that’s how it is, unfortunately. Over here, you can have the referee get beaten up for giving a penalty or disallowing a goal, for the visiting players to be beaten up for not laying down to the home team.  Over here, it happens for the referee to tell you sorry but today you must lose.  And I can continue but that’s enough.

4. National team.
For every footballer, the utmost pride and honor is to play for the national team.  Only in Macedonia, the national team is a managers’ polygon for players.  Only here exists the well know phrase ‘he must play’.  Only here, when the national team goes on the road, there are 20 footballers, 10 members of the coaching staff, and 70 friends and family members on the plane whose only contact with a ball came in elementary school when they were accidentally hit while playing double dutch with the girls.  I know it sounds funny and critical, but that’s the truth.  Did you know that half the players don’t know the anthem?  Half of them do not even speak Macedonian.  And someone will say – those are the players, there aren’t others.  Excuse me?  There aren’t others.  Let me ask you openly.  Where is the top scorer of our domestic league in Filip Ivanovski?  Where are Vlatko Grozdanoski, Zlatko Tanevski, Blagojce Todorovski, Krste Velkoski, Borce Manevski, Mile Krstev, Dimitrija Lazarevski, Baze Ilijoski, Boban Grncarov, Zoran Baldovaliev, Stojan Ignjatov… and many others?  Do these mentioned players above not deserve a call up?  They are deserving but they are not considered into the plans of certain people.  Each of the mentioned players play regularly with their clubs and have continuity, which is not the case with half of the current players on the national team.

5. National team coach
All due respect to the new coach but we need a domestic hand, with authority, that will not buckle under any pressure like he must play, or he doesn’t need to play.  Where are Gjore Jovanovski, Cede Janevski, Milko Gjurovski, Gjoko Hadzievski, Dzidzi Ilievski, Vlatko Kostov, Ilco Gjorgievski, Dragi Kanatlarovski, Zoran Smilevski and others?

6. Leadership
I will just add one thing here.  Where are our football football stars Darko Pancev, Ilija Najdoski, Gjorgji Hristov, Toni Miceski, Mitko Stojkovski, the Gjurovski brothers, Goce Sedloski, Artim Sakiri?  Unfortunately they are far away from football.  I have even more thoughts gathered on my mind and could say many more things but there is one point.  We ‘re the amateurs, and that from the highest rank.  Therefore, don’t be upset when Armenia comes in and scores four or five goals, when Luxembourg can come from behind and turn around a game two to one.  And without excuses, the players are least to blame for this situation, this sinking of football over here.
I hope for better days in Macedonian football, since hope dies last."

Pance Kjumbev

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