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Football in Kosovo

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Football in Kosovo

Football in Kosovo is governed by the Football Federation of Kosovo, which was created in 1946, as a branch of the Yugoslav Football Association. FK Priština, now better known in its Albanian language form KF Prishtina, is the club from Kosovo with most participations in the Yugoslav First League.

The Kosovar Superliga is the top division of football in Kosovo. The division was set up in 1945 as regional league within the Yugoslav football league system.

In 2008 Kosovo[a] declared independence from Serbia. Thus far, membership in UEFA and FIFA has been denied due to Kosovo's disputed recognition as an independent state. However, Kosovo is also not a member of the NF Board, which represents non-FIFA territories, including unrepresented cultural groups and unrecognized states. Some football clubs, especially from North Kosovo, refuse to enter the Republic of Kosovo's institutions and continue to be part of Football Association of Serbia.

History

The first football clubs in Kosovo were formed after the First World War and they competed in the Belgrade Football Subassociation provincial leagues within the Yugoslav football league system.

During the Second World War, Yugoslavia was invaded by Axis powers, and most of Kosovo became part of fascist Italian-dominated Kingdom of Albania. Several city teams from Kosovo played during the war in the Albanian championship. Two Kosovar Albanian players made headlines in Italian Serie A, Riza Lushta and Naim Krieziu.[1]

In 1945 Kosovo was reintegrated into Serbia and Yugoslavia. FC Prishtina and FK Trepča made it to the Yugoslav First League. In 1992 SFR Yugoslavia became FR Yugoslavia. In that period, between 1992 and 1999 FC Prishtina was the only club from Kosovo to make it to the First League of FR Yugoslavia. During this Yugoslav period most of the best players from Kosovo, regardless if Serb or Albanian, usually continued their career in stronger Yugoslav clubs. Examples are Gorani Fahrudin Jusufi (European vice-champion in 1966 with Partizan), Albanians Xhevat Prekazi, Fadil Vokrri, Isa Sadriu, Agim Cana, Ardian Kozniku and Kujtim Shala, Serbs Stevan Stojanović (goalkeeper of Red Star Belgrade when they won the European and world club title in 1991), Goran Đorović, Marko Perović, Darko Spalević, Nenad Vanić, Milan Biševac, Miloš Krasić and others. While all Kosovar Serbian and most Kosovar Albanian players represented Yugoslavia internationally, some opted to represent Albania, like Besnik Hasi or Mehmet Dragusha.

Three football players born in Kosovo (Milutin Šoškić, Fahrudin Jusufi, Vladimir Durković) was part of Yugoslavia national football team, who won gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics and silver medal at the 1960 European Championship

After the Kosovo War in 1999, most Kosovar Albanian players opted for emigration and represented either the countries they were emigrated in, or Albania. Some of them are Arjan Beqaj, Etrit Berisha, Lorik Cana, Debatik Curri, Armend Dallku, Besnik Hasi for Albania, Mehmet and Perparim Hetemaj and Njazi and Shefki Kuqi for Finland, Fatos Bećiraj, Jovan Tanasijević for Montenegro, Ardian Gashi for Norway, Emir Bajrami and Erton Fejzullahu for Sweden, Valon Behrami, Albert Bunjaku, Milaim Rama, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka for Switzerland

The Kosovo national football team was formed in the early 1990s and has played a number of friendly games.

Kosovar footballers

There are several ethnic Kosovar Albanians who have played, or are playing, football for other national teams.[2][3] Lorik Cana, who plays for Italian side Lazio, represents Albania. Valon Behrami is a Kosovar-born Swiss international who plays for Napoli. Shefki Kuqi, who last played for Premier League side Newcastle United, is a naturalized citizen of Finland. Xhevat Prekazi, best known for his career with FK Partizan and Turkish side Galatasaray S.K., is naturalized as a citizen of Turkey, and today lives in Serbia. Xherdan Shaqiri is an ethnic Kosovar who plays for the Swiss national team and Premier League side Stoke City.Granit Xhaka is born in Gnjilane, Kosovo and plays for the Swiss national team and Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach. Other such ethnic Kosovars include Valon Behrami and Admir Mehmedi.

Most famous Kosovar player in women's football is German international Fatmire Bajramaj, who plays for German side 1.FFC Frankfurt.

Notes

a. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.

References

  1. ^ SERIE A 1940-41 at enciclopediadelcalcio.it
  2. ^
  3. ^
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