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What are the pros/cons of the coaching finalists?

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Zola, Rajevac and DrulovićZola, Rajevac and Drulović"Makedonski Sport" and several other websites reported on Friday that the candidates for manager have been narrowed to three finalists.

Citing sources close to the Macedonian federation, "Makedonski Sport" and some other websites reported that Gianfranco Zola, Milovan Rajevac and Ljubinko Drulović are the three finalists. FFM president Ilcho Gjorgjioski is expected to hold face-to-face meetings with each of those candidates next week. They will discuss finances and see whether there is a mutual fit between the two sides.

So, with that being said, we decided to look at the pros and cons of each of those coaches.

Gianfranco Zola, 48 years old

Pros: Would be a splash hire that has the most appeal to quickly re-energize a frustrated fan base that has grown indifferent to the national team. Players will likely take notice, too, with the prospect of being managed by a footballing great like Zola. He would bring instant credibility and Macedonia would receive more coverage, ala be taken more seriously with him at the helm. With Zola being Italian, there is a chance he could convince Pandev to return to Macedonia's squad. Goran would probably be intrigued to play under Zola.

Cons: Great player does not equal great manager. His past suggests that his coaching track record is not the best. Has not been able to keep any managerial job for a long time. Zola is unlikely to agree to live in Macedonia full-time or scout the Macedonian league. Lacks familiarity with the players and football conditions. Furthermore, Zola could bounce the moment a more attractive job opens up. Basically, it comes down to commitment. How serious is he about the job? Also, another issue is whether Macedonia can afford him.

Milovan Rajevac, 61 years old

Pros: Veteran manager who has seen his coaching journey take him all over the world. Led Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, so he has experience at the biggest stage. That's a tournament that Macedonia dreams of one day making. Understands the Balkan mentality more than a guy like Zola.

Cons: Hasn't managed in several years. Has he evolved and stayed up to date with the latest advances in the coaching profession? At his age, it's also fair to question his long-term commitment to the position. Is he willing to grind to scout players and recruit others that have some connection to Macedonia?

Ljubinko Drulović, 46 years old

Pros: Proven success with a youth national team when he managed Serbia U19 to win the 2013 UEFA U19 championship. That is important since the next manager must have to ability to develop young players coming up from the U21 squad. Had a long playing career in Portugal, so he has seen how things are done in other parts of the world, beyond his native Serbia. Served as an interim coach (four games) for Serbia's senior national team in 2014.

Cons: Relatively inexperienced as a coach. Would not be a "sexy" hire in the sense that many fans have never heard of Drulović. Furthermore, like the other two guys, commitment will also be a question. Would he bounce the moment a better job opens?

What do you guys think? Based on the pros and cons, do you still feel the same way about your preferred choice to lead Macedonia?

I initially felt Zola would be the best candidate, but I'm having second thoughts the more I think about it. Zola would undoubtedly be a splashy hire that creates buzz based on his name, but he's not likely to stay for the long term. He will bounce the moment a more attractive job opens up, thus leading to another coaching change when that happens. Based on the pros and cons, maybe Drulović makes the most sense given his proven track record with young players. If we want to build a young team that grows together, then Drulović would be an interesting candidate.


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