Cedomir Janevski, ex-coach of Olympiacos Nicosia and AEL, joined This Is Mappa to discuss his experiences as both a player and coach. He reminisced about his time with clubs like Club Brugge, Olympiacos Piraeus, Red Star Belgrade, and more.


Interview highlights

Janevski’s playing career at Club Brugge:

“It was a privilege to join a big team like Club Brugge who had players like Jan Cuelemans with almost 99 caps for the Belgian national team, and my captain Franky van der Elst, who was also an international.

I am happy I signed for 2 years and they were very successful. In my first year we won the championship and in the second we won the cup. This gave me the motivation to stay in Belgium.

At that time they had a very good national team. Ok, they didn’t have the best results until the new generation with the likes of De Bruyne, Lukaku, Hazard, Alderweireldt, but the process began with players like Scifo, Preud’homme, Cuelemans. A lot of patience was required for them to achieve what they did at the last World Cup

Before I became head coach of Brugge, I spent 5 years at the U21’s. I had my pro licence but I was young and I wanted to develop. After the 5 years I moved to Olympiacos Piraeus as assistant to Trond Sollied for a year and a half.”

Coaching Club Brugge:

“Brugge were struggling and they asked me to come back because I knew many of the players having coached them at youth level, which meant we didn’t require much time to adapt. I took charge in January 2007 with the club in sixth place in the league but also in the last sixteen of the cup. I really wanted to help the club as I was there as a player and it meant a lot to me.

It was a good experience because we have very good supporters behind us – yes we encountered problems but with 5 games to go we put all our emphasis on the cup and reached the final against Standard, coached by Michel Preud’homme. Standard had a very good team at the time; Fellaini, Witsel, Defour, Jovanovic, de Camargo, so no one gave us a chance to win – but football isn’t always like that. We beat them 1-0 and won the cup.”

Becoming Assistant Coach at Olympiacos:

“I joined Olympiacos who are the biggest club in Greece with a big history and a lot of supporters so it was very satisfying to join. We saw the team and wanted to lower the average age but knew it was a process.

We had players like Okkas and Konstantinou, Djordjevic (who was captain), Rivaldo, Georgatos, Kafes, Nikopolidis – all very good players but were coming to the end of their careers.”

On Yaya Toure:

“We knew Yaya Toure from his time at Beveren in Belgium. Nobody knew much about him and at that time Beveren had around 10 players from the Ivory Coast there.

Yaya Toure was one of the best players. I wanted to take him to Brugge because part of my job was to scout for talent and I recognised his talent. Unfortunately Beveren wanted too much money for him and at that time he hadn’t fully developed. Suddenly he joined Metalurh Donetsk, which surprised us.

At Olympiacos we were looking for young talent and tried to find out if he was available and interested in joining. We signed him and at the beginning, people couldn’t believe his CV – but after you know how he turned out.”

Becoming Head Coach of Paralimni:

“I don’t know how it all came about. I was coaching Red Star at the time, a club I supported as a child…

The season wasn’t going well and decided to step aside and take a short break. I was then contacted by an agent who told me about a first division club in Cyprus with its own stadium, etc. I visited the club and thought “Why not? Let’s see if I can adapt at a small team and achieve good results at a club with less resources than what I was used to.”

On finances:

“I know things can happen in certain countries. I don’t want to think “maybe we can have this budget in two months” – no, we need to know what the budget is in advance.

It is important to have a budget, scouts to identify talent, an academy to produce talent and contacts outside the island with the correct data – injuries, age, etc.

I kept saying “don’t make this league like Saudi Arabia and sign players at the end of their careers”.

Whether or not he knew about Kingsley Sarfo’s situation:

“I didn’t know anything. I am what is known as a “crisis manager”. Olympiacos called me to save them from relegation.

I knew players like Salli, Nani and Kah and said to myself “they have some good players” and took the job.

During the first week, I saw Sarfo – a very technical player. Good left foot, calm on the ball. He can play football. He’s a fantastic player but needed to be told he had ability.

We went from relegation candidates to top 6 challengers and reached the cup final, losing to Anorthosis in extra time. Afterwards I heard some stories about him in Sweden but we never spoke about it. He made the atmosphere in the dressing room and in training. We were all like a family.

On his time at AEL:

“We reached the semi final and drew 0-0 with Olympiacos. Before the second leg we lost two league games and I was told it was time for a change – even though I was preparing for a final because I was sure we’d get there”.

Full interview is here: