His immense desire to return to the international arena has prompted Macedonian coach Nikola Ilievski to take charge of the Bangladesh national football team despite having only four days available to prepare them for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Pakistan.
“For me, it is not important who the team is that I’m guiding. Whether it is Argentina, China or Macedonia matters little since I wanted to return to international-level football and grabbed the opportunity to guide the national side of Bangladesh,” said Ilievski on his arrival at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport yesterday.
The arrival of Ilievski seemingly puts an end to the drama regarding the appointment of a new national coach for Bangladesh after another Macedonian, Gjorgji Jovanovski, who was announced as coach declined to take charge due to security fears about travelling to Pakistan while the former coach, Robert Rubcic of Croatia, also left Bangladesh for the same reason, as per BFF statement.
However, Ilievski said he has no such concerns about travelling to Pakistan for the away match on July 3 in Lahore and he is delighted to be the Bangladesh coach which will be his second job as an international coach after native Macedonia from 2002 to 2003.
Even though the 56-year old however has no idea about Bangladesh football, he said he was confident about winning against Pakistan.
“First I will observe the players in the camp to see their characteristics and then choose the formation of the game. But I am confident about winning the match on June 29,” said Ilievski, who represented Yugoslavia in the 1982 World Cup.
The Macedonian said he prefers to play attacking football in either 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 formations and sees Brazilian Luiz Felipe Soclari and Swedish Sven Goran Eriksson as idols.
Ilievski informed that he had guided Macedonia in over 50 international matches and his success rate was nearly sixty percent.
Ilievski started his playing career as a striker and played in that position for seven years before turning into a midfielder in the twilight of his career.
Ilievski has not set any specific target during his stay in Bangladesh but said that progress is an ongoing process which takes place step by step.
-With The Daily Star input