In the recent years, Vardar has been recognized by many things in Europe. Besides the first European title, the 4 SEHA League titles, many achieved records, excellent game in defence, precise attack, all stars that played for our team, and the "hellish" atmosphere in SC Jane Sandanski, this season our team passed another obstacle by recruiting a former female national player. Now, Vardar is the only team in the Champions' and the SEHA League with a female assistant coach.
Biljana Crvenkovska "broke the ice." In the past, she played for Vardar's female team, and in the past 4 years she was deputy director of the club. However, she did not last long in administration. As always, she was attracted by the ball, the smell of glue and sports shoes. She was part of the club's successes when the red-black team won its first title in Cologne and the two SEHA League titles.
During her career as a player, Crvenkovska played for Kometal GjP, Eurostandard GjP, GAS Anagennisi Arta (Greece), Uskudar (Turkey), Salerno (Italy) and Vardar. She was part of the Macedonian national team for more than 12 years. She played the senior EC 2008 and 2012, and she played the youth WC 2003.
Due to the absence of the head coach Roberto Parrondo, Crvenkovska will gather the team at the start of the preparation phase. She will be preparing the team until the end of the WC (the end of January) and the start of the SEHA and the Champions' League matches.
* You are the only lady sitting on the bench of a male's team in the Champions' and the SEHA League. Is it a burden being in the men's world?
- I do not feel it as a burden. First, I am very happy for getting this chance and honour to write history. I feel responsible and I do not see myself as a woman in a male's team, I feel like being part of the team.
* It was a surprise for everyone to see a woman promoted as Vardar's assistant coach. Did you expect to become part of the coaching male team?
- I have never expected to be part of a male team. I have always silently wished to be a coach, but I have never said it in public. I have seen myself as a coach of a female team, but not of a male team. Now, I see myself as a coach in the fullest sense.
* Did the players accept you well?
- They are big handball stars. Some of them achieved much more than I did and have spent more years in this sport. However, I have been part of the club's management for a long time and I communicated and cooperated with the players. For almost 4 years I have been traveling with the team and the players had no problems accepting me. Professionalism is mutual. They are patient and open for cooperation.
* You were the team's deputy director in the first half of the year and assistant coach in the other half. What will you remember 2018 after?
- I will remember it after my first experience as Vardar's assistant coach, the placement on the F4 tournament in Cologne, the winning of the 4th SEHA League titles and all 3 Macedonian trophies.
* What is easier, being a coach or a director?
- Both positions have its value. Being a coach requires huge responsibility. The director's position is a bit of a background operation and you are not directly involved in achieving results.
* Do you remember the first moment when you were offered to be part of the coaching team and the first training session with the players?
- The offer was unannounced. I got a phone call and did not think much about it. It is a huge challenge and I wanted to accept it. I was nervous and excited during the first training session. I was not aware of what was going on. However, since we have known each other for a long time, the players helped me and congratulated me. It is different when you are on the other side. I was not a direct participant in the training session because I was helping Parrondo. I was just an observer at the beginning.
* Did the coaching position change your everyday life and what does your day look like?
- It is very similar to the day I had as a player. Everything is based on trainings and matches. The only difference is the preparation for trainings and matches. I must watch live matches, make analyses and watch videos of matches. A normal day means training and preparation. There is not much time to rest.
* You had a chance to guide the team during one SEHA League match in Brest. What was your experience?
- Huge responsibility. You have to be focused in and off the court. Although we played with very young players, I think I handled it well. I was excited, and I thought it would be harder.
* Is male and female mentality different in the context of handball?
- I can make a comparison between being part of a female and a male team. There is a big difference. You must work more with women. Women are interested in lots of things not related to the handball court, unlike men. They are both professionals, but that is the only similarity.
* Are there any secrets in the men's restroom? How do they achieve big results?
- The biggest secret for achieving good results is team spirit.
* Vardar in 2019?
- Many players have surgeries, injuries and many of them will play the WC. It depends on what shape they will come back from Germany and how the injured ones will fit into the training process. However, I hope we will be between the 4th and the 2nd place.
* What are the ambitions of Biljana Crvenkovska? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- I want to go step by step. Everything is new to me. I do not know whether I will continue, but I am interested now, and I want to work.
* The WC starts now. What are the chances of Macedonia?
- Japan could be a big surprise. Iceland have been preparing this team for a long time. Macedonia should secure placement in the next phase, but everything else depends on many other factors. However, we have quality and I believe in these guys.