FYR Macedonia's women's squad starts preparations for national team week and 2013 World Championship Play-Offs
Andrejeva, Pecevska leave national team, make room for young guns
Almost three months after FYR Macedonia failed to reach the main round at EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia, goalkeeper Tanja Andrejeva (34) and left wing Dragana Pecevska (30) have announced their decision to bid farewell to the country's women's national team, stating that they want to fully focus on their respective club duties.
While Andrejeva's decision had been expected, Pecevska's move comes a bit more as a surprise, but follows the decision of national team head coach, Gino Strezovski, not to nominate the 30-year-old for the two friendly matches against Serbia on 21 and 23 March in the Serbian city of Kragujevac.
"This made me decide to definitely finish my career in the national team," Pecevska admitted.
The left wing was part of Macedonian club, Kometal GP, which played the 2005 Women's EHF Champions League final against Slagelse.
She then went on to win the Cup Winners' Cup in 2010 with Buducnost Podgorica. She now plays for ZRK Vardar.
Furthermore she was part of the national team at EHF EURO 2006, 2008 and 2012 as well as at the 2005 and 2007 World Championships.
For Tanja Andrejeva FYR Macedonia's last EHF EURO 2012 group match against Denmark on 8 December was her 101st match in the national team jersey.
She now says that she wants to make room for the younger generation, believing that it is time to focus on her club commitments.
Her team, Metalurg, is the three-time consecutive national champion, but will have difficulties to win a fourth straight title as rivals ZRK Vardar are playing a very strong season.
Andrejeva played for the national team at EHF EURO 2006, 2008, and 2012 as well as at the 2001 and 2007 World Championships.
FYR Macedonia's two friendly matches against Serbia are part of the women's national team week that takes place from 18 to 24 March.
However, the next big challenge for the team will be the 2013 World Championship Play-Offs when FYR Macedonia face Spain at the beginning of June.
For the tests against Serbia on 21 and 23 March head coach Strezovski has nominated the following 18 players:
Goalkeepers: Diana Naumoska (Zito Prilep), Natasa Antic (Metalurg), Frosina Krstevska (ZRK Vardar)
Line players: Robertina Mecheska, Natasha Mladenovska (both Metalurg)
Wing players: Simona Nikolovska, Dragica Mitrova, Simona Grozdanovska (all Metalurg), Ivana Manevska (ZRK Vardar)
Backs court players: Mirjeta Bajramoska, Dusica Gjorgjievska, Zorica Despodovska, Theodora Keramitchieva (all Metalurg), Ivana Sazdovski, Marija Shteriova, Biljana Crvenkoska (all ZRK Vardar), Savica Mrkikj (Zito Prilep), Elena Gjorgjievska (Buducnost, Montenegro)
TEXT: Goran Antevski / ts
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