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Petar Miloshevski holds press conference

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Petar Miloshevski (R) at the press conference; photo: ffm-mk.comPetar Miloshevski (R) at the press conference; photo: ffm-mk.comFormer national team goalkeeper and current sporting director, Petar Miloshevski, held a press conference on Monday addressing several topics, including what they will be looking for in a new manager along with the situations with Goran Popov and Goran Pandev.

Petar Miloshevski opened by saying that FFM is not without fault when it comes to the results in the recently concluded 2014 World Cup qualifications.  Despite that, he felt that Macedonia was only outplayed badly just once from the ten games, that coming in the last game against Serbia that resulted in a 5:1 drubbing.  Miloshevski rued bad luck in some games, particularly the two Croatia matches (away, home), in being missed moments to open the campaign on a positive note.  However, he felt that you can have bad luck once or twice, but if that becomes an excuse for most losses than obviously there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.  He noted the importance of building a winning mentality among the players, and answering to the bigger expectations of the public.

Miloshevski stated that no coach has been contacted at this point about the managerial position, but that FFM will be looking at traits like quality, integrity and accountability in one's work when it comes to finding the right fit.  He said that FFM would prefer to have a Macedonian coach lead the national team, and that a longer term cooperation will be pursued with the new manager.

Miloshevski then addressed the elephant in the room, that being the situation with Goran Popov, by saying the following, "When it comes to Popov, who has been brought up many times now, I want to inform you that for the Serbia game (the one that took place last year) he was left out due to immoral behavior not acceptable for any player, let alone an international.  We are aware of his qualities and nobody is questioning them, that's why the doors to the national team for Popov were never closed.  We know that if somebody screws up and makes a mistake, they are open to forgiveness, but that also requires openness and a willingness to change.  Popov would not only not apologize but he refused to approach the situation any differently on or off the field.  Instead, he only stated his wish to play for the national team through newspapers.  Former manager Chedomir Janevski attempted to reach him twice before the Bulgaria friendly this past August, but Popov would not answer.  In the future, however, as long as the new manager values Popov's qualities, we as a federation will not stand in the way of his return."

When it comes to Goran Pandev, Miloshevski stated, "We can all agree that Pandev in the past decade has been a model leader and serves as a great example for the younger players.  The doors for Pandev are always open.  Up until now, from his side, we have never had any problems nor has he brought up any concerns to us, not even in the recent away trip to Wales.  In the future, we are counting on Pandev playing for us."

Then, responding to a question, Miloshevski said he was surprised to read Pandev's comments to a newspaper that he planned on retiring.  He said Pandev had not contacted anybody from FFM, so that's why he was caught off guard about Pandev's sudden comments to "Makedonski Sport."  Miloshevski noted he tried to get in contact with Pandev by sending him a text message, but Goran has yet to respond.

The situation with Popov is very weird.  As mentioned earlier, Janevski couldn't get in contact with Popov on two occasions prior to the Bulgaria game, yet Popov somehow showed up at the hotel when Macedonia arrived in Wales earlier this month.  How is it that Popov can't pick up the phone, but then shows up to watch the Wales vs. Macedonia game?  Something doesn't add up.  Both sides deserve blame for their stubbornness in dealing with the situation.

If FFM decides to hire a Macedonian manager, then some of the options include Boban Babunski, the current manager of the U21 national team, Gjoko Hadzhievski, Toni Savevski and Boshko Gjurovski.  Savevski is currently manager of Omonia in Cyprus, but he is on the hot seat there after a slow start to the season.  Meanwhile, Mario Gjurovski is the nephew of Boshko Gjurovski, who is now an assistant coach with Japanese side Nagoya, a club that features a Macedonian player in Nikola Jakimovski.

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