FC Banants may have lost their first game under new coach Stevica Kuzmanoski 4-0, but the Macedonian believes that his multi-national side can prove that "football is a universal language" as the Armenian season unravels.
After two seasons outside the medal positions, Banants called in the 47-year-old Kuzmanoski, a former defender who started his coaching career at OFK Beograd before honing his skills in Bulgaria with the likes of PFC Belasitsa, PFC Slavia Sofia and most recently PFC Montana. "The main reason I agreed to become Banants coach was the working conditions," he told UEFA.com. "When I saw the club's training set-up, I knew that Banants set high goals and that is something we share."
His first act in his new post was to call in his old assistants, Radoje Smiljanić and Nikolai Donev. His second was to sign a raft of players who had served him at previous clubs. "You have to know what your players are capable of if you want to be the best," he explained. "I know all the newcomers well. They have plenty of experience and together with the local players we are capable of reaching our goals."
A 4-0 loss to FC Mika in their opening match of the season suggested that there may still be work to do, and with his side featuring players from Brazil, Nigeria, Bulgaria and Armenia, there might also be language barriers to break down. This, however, was not a big issue for Kuzmanoski. "Of course, when there are so many people from different countries, one language will not be enough, but we won't have any troubles because football is a universal language. I like flowing, attacking football and the players can understand that."
After their team's failure to sparkle in the last two campaigns despite strong pre-season billing, the ambitious Banants board may be a little perturbed by the first game under Kuzmanoski, as the coach doubtless understands. "It is obvious that such a team have to play to win in all competitions," he said. "The national cup is the most important thing for us as the winner gets a UEFA Europa League place, but that does not mean we will neglect our league performances because every game is important."
Kuzmanoski is eager to bring in some players from the club's youth ranks as the season goes on, but his first concern is to make sure his disparate recruits come together as a team. "Collective performances are everything. We have many individuals who can take the game in their hands, but they must not forget about the team. Every individual display is built on team play." If he can get that across to his players, Banants could yet be in business.
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