Roma people are most often football players or boxers


 Roma people are mostly playing football or box because those are the two sports considered as sports of the poor people, reckons Ljubomir Oshavkovski, a journalist in the daily newspaper ‘Makedonski sport’

Football and box are the sports which are traditionally years back being played by Roma people in Macedonia. This was confirmed by sports journalists from this country, but was also shown in the survey made by EDNO in Kumanovo, Shtip, Skopje and Prilep, where 90% of Roma athletes are playing football, as well as box. In the period when the whole attention of macedonian publicity is on the European championship in handball in Serbia, and back in the summer 2011 when the country was celebrating the success on the European championship in basketball in Lithuania we asked ourselves why the handball and basketball national teams don’t have Roma representatives?

Ljubomir Oshavkovski, a journalist in the daily newspaper ‘Makedonski sport’ reckons that Roma people are mostly playing football and box, because those are the two sports generally considered as sports of the poor.

– Those are the sports where you do not need much talent, predispositions and conditions to become successful. Roma are considered a poor folk, they do not have conditions to train tennis for example, so they mostly choose football or box. Even on our grounds Roma people are training in local Roma clubs and very rarely become noticed although some of them posses quality. Years ago there were few Roma in top macedonian clubs. For example Erol Demir, playing in Vardar, but now I cannot list a player, says Oshavkovski and adds:

– Regarding box, the sport has become a tradition for Roma in time. Even though I’m not following the sport I myself know at least ten boxers, part of whom participated on the Olympic Games and won medals. The most famous at this moment is Veli Mumin, best in his category in Macedonia.

Oshavkovski reckons that there are prejudices and discrimination among Roma in macedonian sport. According to him there are difficulties for Roma athletes to make progress in European frames, which is not the case with other athletes from the country.

– I think that there are absolutely no chances for Roma in Macedonia to make progress in European frames, except maybe boxers, but it is very difficult for them. Firstly because there are very few persons who would like to be managers to a Roma athlete, and secondly because there are not many successful Macedonians in Europe and in the world. Sincerely, I don’t know many successful Roma athletes, actually the only one I know is the football player Hose Antonio Rejes, from Sevilla, Spain, who played in Real Madrid, then in Arsenal and returned to Sevilla ten days ago. He was also playing for the spanish national team, he says.


Sport tournaments can reveal talents


Roman Demirov, a boxer with 20 years of experience in this sport also confirms that the situation with Roma athletes and Roma sport clubs is not pink. He was boxing for clubs from Shtip, Kumanovo, Skopje, Srbija…He is not boxing any more. He is earning for life from a private business.

– There are many Roma children playing basketball and handball, but only on the streets. Roma sport clubs have died out, nobody wants to finance them. If tournaments among young people are organized, many talents will be revealed and not only in football, considers Demirov.

He, himself plans to organize and prompt that kind of manifestations, but only if there are sponsors, as he says.

One of the younger and auspicious talents in football is seven-year old Enis Asanovski from Prilep. He is playing in ‘Proleter’ football club, which is one of the rare Roma football clubs in Macedonia. Enis is playing there for already two years.

– I have trained in clubs ‘Pobeda’ and ‘Shampion’ and I’m playing for the national team also. I’m not doing anything else, but playing football. But it is not worth it. Except if I go out of the country and play for a foreign club, says Asanovski.

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