A possible trip to either Macedonia or Armenia is on the cards for the Europa League, how times have changed at Liverpool Football Club. The Reds have been drawn to face either FC Rabotnicki of Macedonia or FC Mika of Armenia in the third qualifying round of the Europa League, with Rabotnicki the more likely opponents after they won the first leg of their second qualifying round tie 1-0. So who are these two clubs?
FC Rabotnicki – Founded in 1937, Rabotnicki played in both the Second Federal league of Yugoslavia and the Macedonian Republic League throughout Macedonia’s time as part of the Yugoslavia. Their most successful years have come since Macedonia’s independence in the early nineties, and Macedonian Premier League successes have been frequent since the turn of the 21st century.
The club was bought by a Macedonian company Kometal in 2001 and under the chairman Trifun Kostovski, the team began to improve performances in the Macedonian Premier League. They finished second in the 2002/03 season and won the title in 2005, 2008 and 2009, winning the double of the Macedonian Cup in 2008. The company that owned Rabotnicki, Kometal, left the club in 2008 but it hasn’t stopped the club being successful as they won the title two seasons ago and finished second last campaign to qualify for this season’s Europa League. The team has no less than six Brazilians in the playing squad so don’t expect an entire eleven of Macedonian players.
FC Mika – From the far reaches of Europe, east of Turkey, Armenian side FC Mika were only founded in 1999 after a merger of two clubs Mika FC and Kazakh Ashtarak. The merger only lasted a season and while Ashtarak returned to their former identity, Mika kept the name Asktarak in its title before the club relocated towns.
Mika had built an 8000 seater all purpose stadium in Yerevan and the club moved towns from Ashtarak to Yerevan in 2007. Since the formation of the club in 1999, Mika have had a fantastic record in the Armenian Cup winning it 5 times and it has allowed them to enter the qualifying rounds for the UEFA Cup, and now for the Europa League. The club also finished second in the Armenian league last season and they have 3 Brazilians, two Spaniards, two Lithuanians, one Ivorian, one Russian, and one Georgian in the squad. Expect a multi national eleven if we play them in the next round.
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