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The Turkish Israeli connection

Petar Naumoski, one of Europe's elite has won it all as a player, the current president of the Macedonian basketball federation wishes to put basketball in Macedonia on the map and in the most glorified way

07/03/2018
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The Turkish Israeli connection
A point guard, a scorer, a champion. With 24 titles under his belt and numerous accomplishments, it is safe to say that Petar Naumoski's trophy cabinet is rather full, he experienced it all and won it all whether it was in Split, Efes, Benneton or Siena. Despite being a part of Jugoplastika Split's dynasty Naumoski's name became synonymous with Efes Pilsen (Anadolu) who just recently retired his no. 7 jersey.

Loving the rivalries with Maccabi and appreciating its fans "They really were the sixth player of the team". His most memorable moments from playing against Maccabi "playing in the EuroLeague (then FIBA champions)" Petar not only remembers it all, he also loved every second of it as he openly told to Maccabi's official website. We caught up with Naumoski for a Q&A session just before Maccabi's crucial EuroLeague game in Istanbul against Efes.     

How would you describe the experience of games in Tel Aviv?
"It has always been a great pleasure to go out and play in the Arena which was full with spectators. The supporters of Maccabi Tel Aviv knew (and still do!) how to make a proper rivalry atmosphere from the spectator seats. They really were the sixth player of the team. It is inspiring to come and play there when you know that the home team has one more player in their roster. That is what gave motivation to me and each member of my team to play the best that we can".

When someone mentions a game in Tel Aviv, what game (or a memory) pops-up in your head?
"I must say, the best memory that pops in to my head when I think of Maccabi is when we would play against each other in the quarterfinals of (then) FIBA champions and of course the defense against Maccabi’s shooting guard Derrick Sharp. That was a ‘treat’ for all of the spectators in the halls – both TLV Arena and Abdi Ipekci".

You played for many years in Turkey and Efes retired your jersey. What connected you to this club and what is so special about it?
"I came together with the Efes Pilsen team long time ago – in the year 1992. It was pretty spontaneous without any connection or emotions. As time pass by we grew together. In the six years that I spent playing for Efes Pilsen the popularity of basketball as a sport grew in Turkey, not only in the domestic league but as a national sport as well. Today the Turkish league is one of the best in Europe".

"I was lucky enough to be in that team in that particular time which results in the mutual respect that the country and I have to this day. They value my contribution to the teams’ success and basketball history of the country. The pinnacle of our mutual respect was last year when Efes Pilsen (now Anadolu Efes) decided to retire my jersey. That kind of event will remain close to my heart forever, not only as an athlete, a basketball player but as a human being as well. It just confirmed that everything I was doing for the team at the time was worth it. Unfortunately, the team doesn’t want its former players to be involved in the current administrative board. That is their decision and we all respect it".

What Maccabi players do you remember as tough opponents?
"There are three players that I remember the most as the toughest ones to play against. All of them from the 97/98 team – Derrick Sharp, Oded Katash and Doron Sheffer".

Many players move between Israel and Turkey. As a former star who played as a foreigner in many places, what similarities are there which help make these moves natural or successful?
"The beauty was in the hospitality of the spectators which always made me feel welcomed in both countries as a foreigner. The fans always have been connected to the players which makes it easier for any player. The hospitality and the dedicated fans are the two main reasons that make every player to want to play in these two countries".

Can you tell about your current roll and about your main destinations for the Macedonian basketball?  
"My roll now is the President of the Macedonian Basketball Federation which unfortunately in the past 25-26 years has been neglected by the government and the country. Not only basketball as a sport. In our current situation we rent our office that is around 100sqm. This is the result of a bad management team in the clubs that the majority of its sponsorship is from the local municipality government.  That had a great impact on where we are right now, or what with I have to deal with since I became president".

"I as the president and my team are trying our best to make sure that we correct what was done wrong. We are trying to get our own office, our own hall that we can use and most important to make the owners of the clubs aware that with their decisions they are influencing on the development of young players and then senior team players who are supposed to play for the national team


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