KK MZT Skopje
|Founded||9 March 1966|
|Team colors||Blue and White
|Head coach||Emil Rajković|
|Championships||5 Championships of Macedonia
8 Macedonian Cups
3 Macedonian Super Cups
KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (Macedonian: КК МЗТ Скопје Аеродром) is a basketball club based in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. The club competes in the Macedonian First League and Adriatic League. The club's home ground is Jane Sandanski Arena, but due to small capacity the matches in the Adriatic League and Eurocup from 2012-2014 were played in Boris Trajkovski Arena. From the season 2014/2015 the new home is the renewed Jane Sandanski Arena.
In its history, MZT Skopje has won the Macedonian First League 11 times (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) also won the Macedonian Cup 8 times (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016) and Macedonian Super Cup 3 times (2003, 2015 and 2016).
- 1 History
- 2 Мoments of glory
- 3 Name changes
- 4 Honours
- 5 Winning seasons
- 6 Current roster
- 7 Management
- 8 Notable former players
- 9 Head coaches
- 10 MZT Aerodrom in European Competitions
- 11 MZT Skopje in ABA League
- 12 Seasons
- 13 Supporters
- 14 The eternal basketball derby
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The Beginnings (1966-1990)
KK Skopje was formed in 1966 by a group of enthusiasts led by the first president of the club Mile Melovski. The interest in basketball was high, and even though there were four clubs in Skopje, there was still need for more clubs. That is why the appearance of KK Skopje was welcome, and numbers of young people joined the club and started training on an open field in Avtokomanda. The first team roster consisted of Trpezanovski, Atanasovski, Strezovski, Lazarevski and Domlevski, who was also the team coach. In two years the club became a member of the Macedonian league. Many people expected KK Skopje to get relegated, but the team fought hard and became a standard member in the league. In 1971 Uroš Maljković was chosen to be the new president of the club, with Boris Sokolovski becoming the new head coach. After the reorganization of the leagues in Yugoslavia, KK Skopje gained the right to play in the Second league – South. In the first season of this league KK Skopje finished 7th. The second season the team reached the First league qualifications. The first try failed and due to leaving the field in Ivangrad KK Skopje received a penalty of 8 points for the next season.
KK Skopje got relegated again to the regional league and Taki Dzikov was selected to be the head coach. In 1979 the team finished first in the Macedonian league and managed to qualify for the Second league yet again. With this success the factory Metalski Zavod Tito or MZT started investing in KK Skopje. Slobodan Mucunski, one of the leading people of MZT became the president of KK Skopje. In 1984 MZT completely took the club under their wing, building the new arena Jane Sandanski in Aerodrom. In 1986 KK Skopje, under the new name MZT Skopje and the leadership of Lazar Lečić, reached the Yugoslav First Basketball League where they competed for two seasons.
The debut team in the Yugoslav First Basketball League, MZT Skopje, has made a pleasant surprise in the season 1986/1987. After many years of domination by Rabotnički, the MZT team climbed to the top of the Macedonian basketball – and they kept it so far. It is interesting that from the bench they were led by the coaching legend of the city rival Lazar Lečić. With two victories in the local derby they secured their existence, and they left Rabotnički with a lower ranking. At that period, the most prominent individuals were Vlatko Vladičevski with an average of 16,4 points, Vojislav Zivčević with 15,6 points and Darko Knežević with 14,5 points. There was also significant contribution by the former players of Partizan - Milan Medić and of Crvena zvezda - Aleksandar Milivojša. In the fourth final of the play-off, as expected, Cibona had the least problems and easily eliminated MZT in two games.
Independence of Macedonia (1991–2008)
After the independence of Macedonia, MZT Skopje immediately became one of the leading basketball clubs in the country. In the mid 90s MZT Skopje had a few successful runs on the European field, the most memorable being the 1996–97 season when the team played in the Raimundo Saporta Cup. In this period MZT Skopje struggled to get more respectful results in Europe, led by coach Aleksandar Knjazev beating teams like Real Madrid, Benfica, Ratiopharm, MZT Skopje managed to qualify for the 1/16 finals, without losing one match at home in Jane Sandanski.
This was the first time Macedonia had a representative in the matches after New Year. The draw allocated that MZT Skopje were to play F.C. Porto, with the first match to be played at home. The home form continued when MZT Skopje managed to defeat Porto in Jane Sandanski. But the win was not enough, as F.C. Porto won at home by a bigger margin, ending MZT Skopje European season. However, this season in domestic competition was failure wherein MZT was defeated by KK Žito Vardar in the semifinal. The next few seasons MZT Skopje had a marginal role in the European cups, playing against teams like Žalgiris, ASVEL, Cholet, Split and others.
In the Macedonian National championship, MZT Skopje had a few tries to get to the championship trophy, playing in the play-off finals six times, and even though a few times the team was a so-called "dream team" they couldn't win the trophy in this period. During this few seasons many players emerged through MZT Skopje like Mirza Kurtović, Vrbica Stefanov, Todor Gečevski, Pero Blazevski, Gjorgji Knјazev, Gjorgje Vojnović, Slobodan Petrovski, Srdjan Stanković, Dejan Dimov, Riste Stefanov, and internacional players like Mark Dean, David Daniels, Lorenzo Orr, Frazier Johnson, Levy Middlebrooks, Bojan Tadić and Bryant Smith. Although they couldn't win the championship, this period they won 4 Macedonian Cups, in 1996 against Rabotnički at Gradski Park (69-64), next season in 1997 against Tikveš Kavadarci in Radoviš (92-86), in 1999 against Nikolfert Gostivar at Jasmin Sports Hall (78-73) and in 2000 at home in Jane Sandanski again against Rabotnički (68-66).
Moments of downfall (2008–2011)
In 2008, after many years of failed operations of the then management of the club, the fans decided to start a boycott in order to change the entire set of the management team of MZT Aerodrom. Finally, the summer of 2009 the entire management left the club, leaving many debts behind. There were less than two weeks left to the beginning of the season, and MZT Skopje at that moment had no players, no coach, no junior school, and even worse, they had no sponsors whatsoever. A day before the deadline for application of teams for the current championship, the Family Aerodrom fan group organized a march in order to save the club. Fortunately, this produced results, so during the first season the club was taken over by the Municipality of Aerodrom, and the club received players who were told that the club had had no money. Due to the financial problems of the club, it had the worst season since the independence of Macedonia, so KK MZT Aerodrom had to play in the play-out, to secure its place in the league. Fortunately, MZT succeeded, which meant much better days for the club were to come. The next season, 2010–11, the club got solid sponsors, and there was complete reorganization of the management set, the junior school was reactivated, which had been non-functional for eight years. All debts were repaid, and the team succeeded in entering the playoff semifinals, and the finals of the Macedonian Cup.
Мoments of glory
The club's most successful season (2011–2012)
After all the turmoil and upheavals in the past, after a long time, KK MZT Skopje created a team which became a favorite for winning the first title since its existence. Before the start of the season, an agreement had been reached on Liga ABA participation in the 2012–13 season. Aleksandar Todorov, who had previously been on the bench of MZT several times, was appointed a new coach. Since the last season, the team has included Toni Grnčarov and Igor Penov, while new players who played for the first cup in independent Macedonia were Ognen Stojanovski and Gjorgji Čekovski, as well as the foreign reinforcement players Cade Davis, Noah Dahlman and Igor Mijajlović. Towards the middle of November 2012, the latest weapon arrived too, meaning definite rise of MZT as a top favorite for the cup – Todor Gečevski arrived in Aerodrom. In the regular part of the championship they won the first place, and the roster was completed with the coming of another player from Montenegro, international player Nikola Vučurović. The first exam for this team was the Macedonian Cup, where Feni was defeated in the finals at Boris Trajkovski Arena. Playoff rival was the difficult team of Torus, which made MZT struggle for placement in the finals. In the finals, old rivals MZT and Feni met. The epilogue was 4-1 in the final series, so the Aerodrom team became a champion of Macedonia on May 2, 2012, for the first time in its history.
Domination in domestic competitions, ABA league and Eurocup (2012-present)
MZT Aerodrom’s debut season 2012/2013 in the ABA league can be assessed as highly successful. Before the season’s start, the club’s only goal had been to ensure survival in the league, but as the season went by, at one given period, MZT was strong enough to fight for the Final Four Tournament. On its first official game in the Adriatic League, MZT won a victory over Cibona in Zagreb, which was immediately followed by its first official victory at home over Široki Breg.
Although it was previously considered as a club with one of the smallest budgets in the ABA League, MZT has managed to outperform teams with budgets many times bigger, as well as former European champions.
The list of teams that MZT has outperformed consists of Cedevita, Cibona, Krka, Zadar, Široki Breg, Split, Szolnoki Olaj, Union Olimpija, and a crown of the successful season was its latest triumph at home over Partizan. In the last round, MZT had a chance to qualify for the Eurocup. It was necessary to defeat Krka in Slovenia, and for Cedevita to be defeated by Siroki Breg.
The task was fulfilled by the Macedonian champion, but the qualification did not depend on MZT alone, and eventually MZT ranked seventh, with a score of 14 wins and 12 losses, thus ensuring its participation in the ABA League next year, too. In the Macedonian league, MZT is still being dominant. First, they won the Cup of Macedonia defeating Kumanovo in the finals, while in the playoff MZT Skopje succeeded in making it to the title with no single defeat, achieving victories over Feni in the semifinals with 3-0, and over Kozuv in the finals with 4-0.
The season 2013/2014 was historic as for MZT as well as for the Macedonian basketball. After a long time Macedonia had a team which was a part of the group stage in Eurocup. The new named coach Vlada Vukoičić, who replaced Aleš Pipan, brought some new players: Stefan Sinovec, Uroš Lučić, Justin Reynolds and Macedonian internacional Aleksandar Kostoski, which together with the compact team from the previous seasons: Todor Gečevski, Gjorgji Čekovski, Damjan Stojanovski, Nikola Otašević, Cade Davis, Kiril Nikolovski and Gorjan Markovski created a team that will represents Macedonia in Europe after more than a decade. The luck was not on the side of the Macedonian champion during the group stage draw, so MZT was drawn in the same group with the teams of UNICS, Banvit, Maccabi Haifa, VEF Riga and BC Kalev/Cramo. Along with the performance in the Eurocup, MZT also played in the ABA League, so maybe ambitions that were announced at the beginning of the season were not fully accomplish where was taken the last place on the table with only one win against BC Kalev/Cramo at home.
With the completion of the matches in Eurocup, MZT got more time for rest between the games in the ABA league, and thus improved the placement on the table. Next ambition was to achieve into Eurocup for the next season by placing on the sixth place on the table. For this purpose was appointed a new coach Zoran Martić, and also were brought three new players: Sead Šehović, Aleksandar Cvetković and Ivan Marinković. They signed a contract at the request of the new coach Zoran Martič who accepted to be a coach at that point the hot seat of MZT. After all that happened during the season MZT had a chance to take a 6th place and to decide about own destiny in the last round at home court against Radnicki Kragujevac. Instead of desired 6th place, MZT was defeated by Radnicki Kragujevac and ended the season at 9th place. In the national championship dominance of MZT continued. In February 2014 National Cup has been won playing against Lirija in the Final. After that In Super-league MZT has scored 10 wins and no defeat. This fact only confirmed that MZT has great ambition to win the championship title. In the semifinals opponent was again Lirija which was eliminated with maximum 2-0 in the series. At the end in the final MZT Skopje beat eternal rival Rabotnicki. The series ended with a 3-1 victory, and MZT became champion third time in a row.
The 2014/2015 season has been the most turbulent one in MZT’s recent history. The club was left by many of the players who had been the main skeleton of the team over the past seasons, and Zmago Sagadin was appointed a new coach and he decided to rejuvenate the team. New reinforcements have arrived in the team – Milton Jennings, Jourdan DeMuynck, Marko Pajić, Giorgi Tsintsadze, Vedran Morović, Marko Simonovski, Owen Klassen, Dion Dixon, Nenad Zivčević, Adem Mekić, and there are also last season’s players Uroš Lučić, Kiril Nikolovski, Boban Stajić, Aleksandar Cvetković and Ivan Marinković. The preparatory period and especially the start of the season started in a bad way, meaning Sagadin’s fast leave from the coach position. Vrbica Stefanov was appointed his successor.
In the meantime, some players returned to the MZT team – Damjan Stojanovski, Sead Šehović and Stefan Sinovec who came from Szolnoki Olaj, and the team was left by many of the newly arrived players. But, Stefanov did not stick for a long time on the bench of MZT, and Bobi Mitev was appointed a coach after his leave. The results did not change, defeat came after defeat, and same as his predecessors, Mitev got resignation, and in his stead came Aleksandar Jončevski who used to be assistant coach during the mandates of all heretofore coaches. The elimination from the Macedonian Cup in the semifinals caused by Kozuv and the next-to-last place in the ABA League meant resignation for Joncevski. The salvation of the season was found in the former coach of MZT, Aleš Pipan, who was the fifth coach in the season. He was brought along with the new players Predrag Samardžiski, Aleksandar Ćapin and Danilo Mijatović in order to save the season by winning the championship. In the semifinals MZT was better than Feni Industries, and in the finals with a maximum result of 3-0 they defeated the Kumanovo team, which continued its dominance in the domestic championship with four victories in a row. 
After successful domestic league ending in the final against Kumanovo, Aleš Pipan was appointed as a head coach again in the season 2015/2016. At the end of the season some of the players left the club, so another squad was formed. Most of the main players from the previous seasons left the club, so new players were brought in Đorđe Drenovac, Marko Ljubičić, Marko Luković, Duško Bunić, Nemanja Protić, Edi Sinadinović and Uroš Vasiljević, and also the players from the previous season like the captain Damjan Stojanovski, Marko Simonovski, Danilo Mijatović, Gorjan Markovski, Ljubomir Mladenovski and Adem Mekić. After the mixed performances in the ABA League regular season, the coach Aleš Pipan got resignation, and in his stead came again Aleksandar Jončevski. Meanwhile one of the domestic players, Marko Simonovski, left the club because of misunderstandings with the Management of the club and also Edi Sinadinović was released. At 15 December 2015 Uroš Luković has agreed terms with MZT Skopje and maybe that was the key for the rest of the season. MZT ended the ABA League season at 10th place, so the domestic competitions were the only chance for the salvation of the variables games during the season. The first exam for this team was the Macedonian Cup, where Karpoš Sokoli was defeated in the finals in Gevgelija with 64-62. MVP of the Cup Final was Marko Luković. In the Play-off Finals, old rivals MZT Skopje and Kumanovo met again and that was recap from the previous season. In the first game in the Finals, MZT lost at home court in Jane Sandanski Arena against Kumanovo and the players had big presure to win the title. But due to star performans of the MVP of the season Damjan Stojanovski, the team from Aerodrom ended the series with a 3-1 victory, and MZT became champion fifth time in a row.
- KK Skopje (1966–1984)
- KK MZT Skopje (1984–1998)
- KK MZT Boss Skopje (1998–2000)
- KK MZT Skopje 2000 (2000–2004)
- KK MZT Skopje (2004–2008)
- KK MZT FON Univerzitet (2008–2009)
- KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom (2009–present)
However, the club is best known under the name KK MZT Skopje.
|Macedonian Republic League||Winners||6||1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979|
|Macedonian League||Winners||5||2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016|
|Macedonian League||Finalist||11||1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016|
|Macedonian Cup||Winners||8||1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016|
|Macedonian Cup||Finalist||12||1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. 2016|
|Macedonian Super Cup||Winners||3||2003, 2015, 2016|
|Macedonian Super Cup||Finalist||4||2000. 2003, 2015, 2016|
|2011/12||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Feni Industri||4-1 (seven game series)||Todor Gečevski|
|2012/13||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Kožuv||4-0 (seven game series)||Gjorgji Čekovski|
|2013/14||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Rabotnički||3-1 (five game series)||Damjan Stojanovski|
|2014/15||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Kumanovo||3-0 (five game series)||Marko Simonovski / Sead Šehović|
|2015/16||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Kumanovo||3-1 (five game series)||Damjan Stojanovski|
|1996||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Godel Rabotnički||69-64||Vlatko Vladičevski||Skopje|
|1997||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Tikveš Kavadarci||92-86||Toni Simić||Radoviš|
|1999||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Nikolfert Gostivar||78-73||Mirza Kurtović||Kavadarci|
|2000||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Rabotnički||68-66||Gjorgji Knјazev||Skopje|
|2012||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Feni Industri||84-66||Todor Gečevski||Skopje|
|2013||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Kumanovo||79-71||Damjan Stojanovski||Skopje|
|2014||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Lirija||76-73||Todor Gečevski||Ohrid|
|2016||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Karpoš Sokoli||68-62||Marko Luković||Gevgelija|
Macedonian Super Cup
|2003||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Rabotnički||77-75||Gjorgje Vojnović||Skopje|
|2015||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Rabotnički||81-62||Dimitar Mirakovski||Ohrid|
|2016||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Karpoš Sokoli||87-84||Torey Thomas||Skopje|
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom roster
|Pos.||Starting 5||Bench 1||Bench 2||Bench 3|
|C||Jure Lalić||Josh Scott||Ljubomir Mladenovski|
|PF||Jeremiah Massey||Uroš Lučić|
|SF||Đorđe Drenovac||Marko Simonovski|
|SG||Xavier Thames||Adem Mekić|
|PG||Torey Thomas||Charlon Kloof||Andrej Cvetkovski|
Squad changes for the 2016–17 season
- Club Owner: Aerodrom Municipality
- President: Kire Donevski
- General Manager: Vidoja Sekulovski
- Sport Director: TBA
Notable former players
MZT Aerodrom in European Competitions
|1st round||BK JIP Pardubice||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||97-82||111-81|
|2nd round||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Ratiopharm Ulm||75-78||85-70|
|1st round||BC Baltai||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||60-44||80-74|
|1st round||Zagreb||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||94-80||81-64|
|2nd round||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Arsenal Tula||91-78||94-70|
|Group stage||Real Madrid||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||92-65||69-68|
|Group stage||Plama Pleven||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||103-94||91-68|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Ratiopharm Ulm||92-89||94-73|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Hapoel Galil Elyon||65-55||95-79|
|Group stage||Benfica||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||77-75||75-73|
|Round of 32||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||BC Porto||73-69||80-74|
|Group stage||Znicz Pruszków||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||110-64||79-85|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||BC Tallinna Kalev||81-90||77-54|
|Group stage||ASVEL Villeurbanne||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||68-48||53-58|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Zalgiris Kaunas||93-95||97-49|
|Group stage||Zagreb||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||77-61||52-71|
|Group stage||Cholet Basket||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||90-61||71-86|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Slovakofarma Pezinok||84-76||75-60|
|Group stage||Türk Telekom B.K.||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||75-57||73-81|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Split||71-69||85-74|
|Group stage||Geofin Nový Jičín||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||94-87||100-74|
|1st round||Vojvodina||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||93-85||78-81|
|Group stage||UNICS Kazan||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||85-61||62-88|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||VEF Riga||70-77||80-71|
|Group stage||Maccabi Haifa||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||79-60||83-86|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Kalev Cramo||79-70||84-69|
|Group stage||Banvit||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||85-61||68-86|
|Group stage||Herbalife Gran Canaria||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||TBA||TBA|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Lietkabelis||TBA||TBA|
|Group stage||Nizhny Novgorod||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||TBA||TBA|
|Group stage||MZT Skopje Aerodrom||Cedevita||TBA||TBA|
MZT Skopje in ABA League
|Score||7th (14-12)||9th (12-14)||13th (7-19)||10th (10-16)|
MZT Skopje's fans, Family Aerodrom, were formed in spring 1997 as a legitimate heir of Service Crew and Piramida Aerodrom
The eternal basketball derby
- MZT Skopje has traditional rivalry games with Rabotnički.
- "MZT Skopje Adriatic League". ABA Liga.com. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "MZT Skopje in Eurocup". eurocupbasketball.com. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Историјат на Кошаркарскиот клуб МЗТ Скопје". KKMZTSkopjeAerodrom.com. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "МЗТ го освои Купот на Македонија". tocka.com.mk. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Cibona izgubila od MZT-a 72:77". cibona.com. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "МЗТ Скопје Аеродром е освојувач на Купот на Македонија". mztskopjeaerodrom.com.mk. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Словенецот Змаго Сагадин ќе го води МЗТ Скопје". novamakedonija.com.mk. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
- "Марко Пајиќ, нов член на МЗТ Скопје". ekipa.mk. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- "Очекувано: Цинцадзе го напушти МЗТ Скопје". ekipa.mk. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- "Марко Симоновски продолжува со МЗТ". mztskopjeaerodrom.com.mk. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- "MZT re-sign Damjan Stojanovski". mztskopjeaerodrom.com.mk. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- "Boban Mitev stays MZT head coach". mztskopjeaerodrom.com.mk. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- "MZT inks Samardžiski". mztskopjeaerodrom.com.mk. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- "MZT Skopje lands Aleksandar Ćapin". mztskopjeaerodrom.com.mk. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- "Mijatovic signed with MZT". mztskopjeaerodrom.com.mk. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "МЗТ Скопје старо-нов шампион на Македонија". mztskopjeaerodrom.com.mk. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- "Club Page at the ABA Liga website (abaliga.com)" (in Macedonian). Retrieved 28 February 2015.