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.
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.