Sydney FC’s Australian-born midfielder, Nicola Kuleski, admits it was a strange feeling playing for Macedonia against the Olyroos.
Kuleski, from Lane Cove, lined up for Macedonia along with Melbourne City midfielder Phil Petreski as the Red Lions defeated the Aussie Under-23s in Skopje 3-1 last week.
The son of former NSL player Blagoja, Kuleski, has been with the Sky Blues National Youth League team for the past two years and has represented Macedonia 15 times at Under-17 level.
“It was strange one playing against Australia as I was playing against my mates as well as having ties with both Macedonia and Australia,” he admitted.
“I wasn't concentrating on the emotions – I was just focusing on my performance and helping the team out. I mentally prepared for the game and tried to see it as playing against my friends at a club football level, which happens week in and week out in Australia.”
Macedonia struck first against Aurelio Vidmar’s men with Adam Taggart then equalising. The hosts scored in the 41st and 63rd minutes to seal their victory.
Kuleski described the match against the Olyroos, who are preparing for the Asian Olympic qualifiers in January, as tough and fast-paced.
“Both sides wanted to keep the ball and it was a great football game,” he said.
“It was a wonderful feeling to be a part of, and play in this game, and I'm sure the spectators enjoyed it as well.
“Winning any game at that national team level is an achievement in itself no matter who you're up against, as it is the best players wanting to perform at their highest level.
“I take every game seriously and try to perform to the best of my ability.”
Long-term Kuleski said he has not made a formal commitment to represent either Macedonia or Australia, but is grateful to Macedonia for the opportunity to play international football.
“At the moment I'm just concentrating with training and improving myself to become the best footballer I can be,” he said.
But for now he sees his future with Macedonia: “Football is unpredictable and can change overnight, but at the moment, yes , as Macedonia has given me the opportunity to fulfil the lifelong dream of any footballer, playing at the highest level, and I am extremely grateful to be given a lucrative platform to do so.”comments