NK Maribor attacking midfielder Agim Ibraimi has been named as Macedonian Player of the Year for the first time following a poll conducted by the Football Association of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FFM).
The 24-year-old collected the prize at a ceremony in Skopje on Thursday having helped Maribor dominate Slovenian football in 2011/12, winning a league and cup double, and also playing every minute of the club's UEFA Europa League group stage campaign this season. Capped 16 times by FYROM after his debut in 2009 in a friendly against world and European champions Spain, Ibraimi has also impressed in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, scoring the only goal against Serbia and also finding the net in a 2-1 defeat against Croatia.
"I'm happy to have received this award, which to me represents great honour and above all a big responsibility to carry on giving my utmost on the field for my team and for my country," said Ibraimi, who finished ahead of five-time winner Goran Pandev and Nikolche Noveski, the award's 2005 recipient, in a poll of the coaches and captains of the 12 Macedonian First League clubs. "I'd like to thank my team-mates and family for the enormous support and everyone who believed in me."
Ostoja Stjepanovic took the FFM prize for their domestic player of the year, the 24-year-old midfielder playing a key role in FK Vardar's first domestic title since 2003. Ilcho Gjorgjioski, who guided Vardar to the championship before being elected president of the FFM, took the coaching award, while 18-year-old midfielder David Babunski, part of FC Barcelona's youth set-up, was named young player of the year.
Natasa Andonova of 1.FFC Turbine Potsdam collected the women's prize, while Aleksandar Stavrev picked up the referee award. The futsal section was dominated by KMF Zelezarec Skopje, who won the team prize with the coach and player award going to Zoran Lekic and Zoran Leveski respectively.
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