UMD: Vardar’s Victory Bolsters Macedonian Pride and Hope

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) congratulates Macedonia’s Handball Club Vardar for winning the 2019 VELUX European Handball Federation Champions League trophy, beating Hungary’s Veszprém 27:24. Vardar entered the Sunday finals after eliminating Barcelona 29:27 on Saturday, despite being 7 goals behind at halftime.

Thousands turned up in Macedonia Square in Skopje yesterday to watch the final game and celebrate victory loudly singing their hearts out, Никогаш Северна, Секогаш Македонија (Never North, Always Macedonia)! Hundred thousand fans are expected this evening to welcome the triumphant return of the Vardar players to Macedonia.

Despite serious financial problems facing the handball club and players not receiving salaries for nearly eight months, the morale among the team, headed by captain Stojance Stoilov, was high on their path to victory in the European Championship for the second time in three years. Most of Vardar’s players have already signed contracts for other teams being their last game in Vardar’s red and black colors.

UMD applauds Stoilov for his bravery and patriotism on correcting the European Handball Federation’s presenter who said, “first major title for North Macedonia,” during the press conference following the game. An emotional Stoilov wrapped the Macedonian flag around his chest responded, “This is our happy end and a great win for us and my country, the Republic of Macedonia.” Stoilov has been quite vocal expressing his opposition to the name change. Click HERE to watch Stoilov’s response.

UMD regrets that Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s advisor for multicultural affairs, Rubin Zemon questioned Stoilov’s mental acumen late last year. UMD condemns statements such as those by Zemon that insult a national sports hero who has played through injuries for his club proudly in the national colors of Macedonia in many European and World competitions.

As evident by the continued use of “North Macedonian” by European authorities and global media outlets, UMD notes that the Prespa Agreement in fact does not preserve the Macedonian identity but only sets back our collective efforts by creating a new “North Macedonian” history and identity. The Macedonian people will fight the implications of the Prespa Agreement, and will continue our #NeverNorth policy.

Lastly, UMD calls on the Macedonian authorities to invest more in sports and the youth, and approach members of the Macedonian diaspora business community to purchase interest in Macedonian sports teams and youth sports education.

HC Vardar bolstered Macedonian pride and hope among the Macedonian nation, and UMD is forever grateful. Thank you HC Vardar!