Football journalist in the Balkans

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Timthumb article
Kosovo 2.0

One team or two - football highlights complex Albanian identity.

By early afternoon on Monday, six hours before Albania were to take on Macedonia in the opening game of World Cup qualifying Group G, Shkoder was already buzzing with the feel of a big matchday. While the cobbled streets of the city center had become a heaving mass of red and black amidst the endless double headed eagles and patriotic slogans, the other striking sight was the place names emblazoned on t-shirts and flags; Tetova, Gjilan, Prishtina, Kumanovo, Ulqin, Drenas.

Naser article
Espn Soccernet

Albania and Macedonia tensions high ahead of World Cup ...

While the fixture list for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers offer most European teams a gentle return to international action, the opening game in Group G between Albania and Macedonia promises to be a fiery affair for both sides involved, on and off the pitch.

69 article
baraz.co

One team or two - football highlights complex Albanian identity.

By early afternoon on Monday, six hours before Albania were to take on Macedonia in the opening game of World Cup qualifying Group G, Shkoder was already buzzing with the feel of a big matchday. While the cobbled streets of the city center had become a heaving mass of red and black amidst the endless double headed eagles and patriotic slogans, the other striking sight was the place names emblazoned on t-shirts and flags; Tetova, Gjilan, Prishtina, Kumanovo, Ulqin, Drenas.

Albertbunjaki article
Kosovo 2.0

Albert Bunjaki: The man preparing to introduce Kosovo football to the world

Tonight (Friday, June 3) at 20:00, the Kosovo national football team will play their first match as a full member of FIFA. Leading his team will be Albert Bunjaki, the man whose name will be immortalized by virtue of being Kosovo’s first ever head coach, both pre- and post-FIFA recognition. It is a fitting reward for a man whose dedication to football in Kosovo has been resolute, despite the challenges presented by politics, war and forced migration.

600 443713643 article
footballpink.net

Celebrating Together: Kosovo and Albania in the most amicable of friendlies

Today, the Albanian national team visit Kosovo for what will surely be the most amiable of all the international friendlies being played over the next few days. Posters advertising the game in Pristina carry the slogan ‘Festojme se Bashku’ – We Celebrate Together. The game is being promoted as an opportunity for ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, who make up over 90% of the unilaterally declared republic’s population, to celebrate what is becoming a halcyon age for Albanian football. However, with the Kosovar Football Federation expecting recognition from FIFA and UEFA in March and the complex fluidity of nationality in the 21st century, especially in regard to footballers, how long will these two nations continue to celebrate together?

Dsc 0828 article
footballpink.net

Red Star and the land of great knights |

JACK ROBINSON recently visited the disputed region of Kosovo and examined the continuing relationship between Serbian football supporter groups and the spreading of nationalist ideology.

Albanian fa 1050x700 article
balkanist.net

CAS puts EC's longest and shortest qualifier to rest | Balkanist

On Friday morning, an announcement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeared to write the final page in the story of a European Championship qualifier that has morphed into a saga of its own. The game itself lasted a mere 41 minutes, at which juncture the referee suspended the match for a second time due to flares littering the playing surface. What followed were some of the most bizarre and chaotic scenes ever seen inside a football stadium.

151012115423 albania scarves super 169 article
Back Page Football

Albania v Serbia - Fans' dreams sacrificed to political goals - Back ...

The opportunity to be able to create the atmosphere that inevitably lifts your team into overcoming their nemesis and entering an unknown level of sporting glory; it’s the kind of things that gives dedicated fans goosebumps. Unfortunately, many supporters of the Albanian national team are going to be denied this once in a generation opportunity. This is because despite the political underpinnings of all those rivalries, none carry the weight of history of Albania against Serbia, not even Wrexham v Chester. Despite its immense footballing importance, tonight’s match has transcended football. It is no longer a game of football – it is a political event.

Serbia v albania drone 014 article
Kosovo 2.0

UEFA decision: Pointless?

A run through of UEFA's initial decision regarding the abandoned Serbia v Albania game in October 2014.

2015 07 24 15 11 7198  article
Back Page Football

Hajduk Split sweat, stumble and score through hectic summer ...

Whilst most of Western Europe gears up for kick off in the coming weeks, Croatia’s First League season is already four matches old, add in five Europa League qualifying matches and what results is a hectic summer for Hajduk; nine matches in the last 31 days. Oh, and goals. Lots and lots of goals.

Torcida sand%c5%beak fans article
Back Page Football

Partizan Belgrade succumb in the Sandzak Republic - Back Page ...

Saturday was a historic day for Torcida Sandžak, Serbia’s only Islamic ultras group. They’d witnessed their team, Novi Pazar, go a goal down in the opening fifteen minutes, miss a penalty and concede a second in first half stoppage time. All of that came in one of the biggest games of the season, the home fixture with Partizan Belgrade; last season’s champions who had won their opening two matches 4-0 and 6-0. Novi Pazar, by contrast, had lost their opening game at home to newly promoted Javor Ivanjica. And yet somehow they emerged victorious, recording their first ever win over Partizan.