Lazarov: Vardar was European champion twice, but the national team didn't get anything from it

The coach of RK Alkaloid, Kiril Lazarov/photo: Sloboden Pechat/Dragan Mitreski

One of the best handball players of all time, Kiril Lazarov, in the interview for "Mozart Sport", talked about his new role in life, the ambitious project of the Alkaloid handball club from Skopje, about the development of Macedonian handball, his playing career, why he never wore the Vardar jersey, about his ambitions and desires...

He mostly talked about the future, his ambitions to prove himself as a coach, to do something big with Macedonia and with Alkaloid.

photo: EPA-EFE/Zsolt Czegledi

– I was always a helping hand to the coach on the field. Every specialist must have such a player, who will be a link on the field, to help the team. I was in the strongest clubs in Europe, as well as in the Macedonian national team. Every coach in the Macedonian national team had confidence in me, as a captain. The selectors were changing, and I was a helping hand. I wanted to succeed. I was very ambitious. I also wanted to help with the atmosphere. There are always problems in team sports. I liked that role. Meanwhile, I was also a good handball player. I understood this sport and later learned a lot from the best professionals I worked with in Barcelona, ​​Atlético, Nantes, Veszprém and Zagreb. I knew long before the end of my playing career that I would be a coach. I enjoy this role, although being a coach is the hardest part. I love this and I try to be as good as possible, to be at a higher level. I wanted to retire earlier, but I felt good - says Lazarov.

Lazarov about Macedonian handball and the "Alkaloid project":

– The change of generations is a sensitive process. We are a small country, we don't have a lot of players. The selection has completely changed, now it is completely new with this Alkaloid project where Macedonian players get a chance. That was the idea. Some support it, some don't, some will understand it, some won't.

Photo: RK Alkaloid

We have two clubs, Alkaloid и Multi Essence, who invest in Macedonian children, are given a chance. We have seven cadet representatives in Multi Essence. The project is supported by our president Zhivko Mukaetov. He is fighting for his country, for the identity of Macedonia. When Pelister plays, they support Bitola, when Vardar plays, the fans support him, when Alkaloid plays... When it comes to the Macedonian national team, we are all united in our support. Our president is fighting for it. Those projects cost a lot, but he invests in his children and in the country he loves, Macedonia.

"The Alkaloid Project" was created when we saw that my generation had no worthy successors in Macedonia. Kudos to the other clubs, but they gave the foreigners more chances. It is a strategy, we respect it, but we have a different concept. How will we make a result with Macedonia if we don't have our project, so that Macedonian children get a chance? We don't have as many handball players playing in strong foreign clubs as there are in Serbia, so we decided to try to keep them in the country. We want to prevent the extinction of Macedonian handball, the Macedonian national team. We are moving forward, it takes time, but I think we are becoming competitive domestically and internationally. We are on the right track, in the year and a half that Alkaloid has been in existence, we are already playing in the Europa League.

Photo: RK VARDAR

Lazarov says that the national team got nothing from RK Vardar's two Champions League titles in 2017 and 2019:

- I admire Vardar for what he did, he was European champion twice. He did that with foreign players and I respect that. It was a strategy, it turned out to be the right one and I congratulate him on that. My complaint about Vardar is why it didn't work at the same time as the younger categories. Why was there no youth drive in the background? Only Stojance Stoilov from the domestic players was there in winning the European championship titles. The two championship crowns remain recorded forever, Macedonia was also promoted, but the national team did not get anything from it.

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