7m | Filip Taleski: ''The champions spirit still lives in Vardar's dressing room''

7 meters interview: Filip Taleski

At the age of 14, Filip Taleski made his debut in the SEHA - Gazprom League and the EHF Champions League. At the age of 19, he already made his first international transfer. Now he is back in his homeland, and he is among the best players, not only in Vardar, but also in the entire domestic league in North Macedonia, and in the national team.

In his career, he had the opportunity to work with famous names such as Lino Cervar, Nikolaj Jacobsen, Veselin Vujovic and David Davis. But he really exploded and confirmed his playing maturity with Vlado Nedanovski. Now Filip Taleski is the “first violin” in Vardar. A left back player with a strong shot, and when the team is not doing well, he always has a solution. He is a complete player who not only plays in attack but also in the defence.

He has grown into a leader, into a game-holder who knows how to take responsibility in key moments. The coach gives him a chance, and he comes back with good games and goals.
It has been shown in recent seasons. My coaches are giving me a chance and they trust me. And I showed the best on the court when the title and the Cup were being decided. Then I continued in the domestic championship, which is getting stronger. There are good teams and players and every match should be played to the maximum.

Now as one of the most important players, the pressure, responsibility and expectations are bigger. Now every shot is watched, and every move is measured. Everything is different.
I realized that, and I see it. I want to focus and give my best in training. When I arrived in Vardar, Stojanche Stoilov said to me one sentence I will remember for a lifetime. Also, Lino Cervar told us that in Metalurg, but we didn’t understand it then because we were very young. Stoilov used to say: “If you are 100 percent in training, you will be the same in a match. You can be bad in one match, but you can’t be bad all the time’’. And that’s why trainings are really important. There will always be mistakes. They used to affect my self-confidence, but now I understand that, and I want to overcome them. I have support from coach Nedanovski, from Stoilov, Manaskov, Georgievski, all of whom are older and more experienced.

He went to Germany very early. He needed time to adapt, to mature, to find himself. Now he is a player who knows what he wants and how to get it. Taleski does not consider that leaving Germany was a mistake in his career.
There is always a period of adaptation and a period of demand. From this point of view, that departure abroad was too early, but it is also an valuable experience. I went to Germany at the age of 19. I didn’t play there, and that’s a fact. If I had stayed at home it might have been different. But in Germany I worked with a world coach like Nikolaj Jacobsen, so even though I didn’t play, I learned a lot from him. Returning to North Macedonia made me fully aware and I saw things more realistically. The first year was without fans due to the pandemic. When I returned, I didn’t play as much as I wanted, even though the coach was Macedonian. In Germany, I also became a family man and I became a father. Now I see the same goals when I was a child again more clearly.

Every player wants to be the best and win trophies. But it is not always possible to achieve everything at once. It takes time, work, and sometimes luck.
I feel ready to achieve what I want, but in sports, you can’t wish and say “well now it will be”. Maybe I will stay in Vardar for a long time, and we will play the EHF Champions League again and repeat the success of previous generations. Of course, I want to be the best player. I am ready and I have to show it on the court. Every training session, every match is a new challenge for me.

Taleski is a role model for many young players. But not so long ago he also had his own idol. He started playing handball because it was his mother’s wish.
My father’s colleague was Sveto, men who worked in the “Avtokomanda” hall, and handball was close to my mother’s heart. So we asked if I could go to their training. I was accepted into the Metalurg’s Academy, which was then led by Aleksandar Jovic. When I started watching handball, my idol was Filip Jiha. When I first played with Metalurg in Kiel and I met Filip, I couldn’t believe it. This was like a dream for me. Also, one day I would like to play for Kiel, to be the best in the world.

The SEHA - Gazprom League is a place where he played together with Pavel Atman, Renato Vugrinec and Darko Stanic at the age of 15. Taleski remembers his first match pretty well.
How can I not remember. We played against Partizan, and I scored four goals. At that time I played in the Macedonian Metalurg where I played together with stars such as Atman, Vugrinec, Stanic and Mojsovski. 

This season in the SEHA - Gazprom League, Vardar has a packed agenda, and in February they will play four matches, after which the path to the SEHA Final 4 tournament will be known. Taleski once already played the final tournament with Vardar, when the Macedonian champions lost to Veszprem. Now he hopes that they would have a chance to be part of the spectacle again.
Last year we, unfortunately, lost to Nexe on penalties. Vardar’s goals are always to be at the top, in the domestic championship, the cup, and SEHA - Gazprom League. We always want to play in the final and fight for the title. Several of our players were at the WCh 2023 and immediately after that, we went to play in Presov against Tatran. We also have a lot of new players, and it takes time for everything to fit. We have shown that we can play well, we just need time. We will attack that Final 4 tournament. We need to achieve a victory with Tatran at home with a higher goal difference than the first match. The goal is to fight and play for first place in the group.

January and especially February are difficult months. This is the time when the form improves, teams work on getting better and better. The fans expect victories and a good game.
We should be in top form for the most important matches. We want the same thing as all fans - to win. February will be difficult. The domestic championship is starting. Now is the right time to see our mistakes, and improve all the elements in the game and be prepared for the upcoming matches.

Vardar again had changes in the team roster this season. A lot of players left, also several new ones have arrived. Now the roster is different, but the mentality has remained the same.
Vardar’s strength is precisely that mentality. The champions spirit still lives in the locker room. I feel it through Stojanche Stoilov. Through everything, his every movement. Both in the locker room and the hall, and all those posters that exist in the coridor in the hall, in front of the entrance to the locker room. Vardar is the European champion, and that’s how it should be.