FYR of Macedonia have announced Aleksandar Dzikic as their new head coach as he replaces Ales Pipan, who stepped down shortly after the side’s failure to advance past the first round of Eurobasket last summer.

The 42-year-old Serbian has had previous international coaching experience with the Serbian under-20 side, but this will be his first senior post at this level. He will balance this role with his current coaching job at Slovenian side Krka Novo Mesto.

Dzikic will lead the Macedonians to the qualification round for Eurobasket 2015. His side will be considered one of the main candidates to advance and it is considered to be a top priority by the Macedonian Basketball Federation [MKF].

“It’s a great honour for me to coach a team that comes from a country which loves basketball,” said Dzikic.

“I don’t feel like a foreigner here I will do my best to prove right the people of the federation that put their trust in me.

“What is certain is that there is a lot of work to be done, but we have time and hopefully this will be a great collaboration, which we believe will bring us good results.”

The Serb began his coaching career with the Partizan youth teams in 1990s before taking up a position with the Minnesota Timberwolves coaching staff in 2005.

Three years later, he became head coach of Union Olimpija Ljubljana where he guided them to a national title before jumping ships to the side’s bitter rivals Krka Novo Mesto. During his time with Krka, he has steered them to a Slovenian title and the Eurochallenge crown.

Dzikic then rejoined the Novo Mesto side last summer following an unsuccessful spell at Lithuanian side Lietuvos Rytas.

FYR of Macedonia has enjoyed a quite memorable few years on the international circuit. They shocked the basketball world by finishing fourth at Eurobasket 2011 and a year, came within a whisker of qualifying for the Olympic Games in London, but missed out in the additional Olympic qualifying rounds in Venezuela.