Football Legend Passes Away

TIRANA, Jan. 20 – Albania will be in a national mourning day during the funeral of football player Panajot Pano, who passed away at the age of 71 in a Florida, U.S. hospital on Tuesday. The cabinet held a minute

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Haan resigns as Albanian national team coach

TIRANA, April 15—Arie Haan has resigned as Albanian national team coach after a series of losses in World Cup qualifiers, local media reported Wednesday. The 60-year-old Dutchman began the campaign for next summer’s South Africa finals by taking four points

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Ugly Albania duels Malta in a null shoot-out

La Valleta, Feb 11, — Albania missed a chance to go to the top of its World Cup qualifying group by being held to a 0-0 draw by Malta on Wednesday. Albania, coached by former Netherlands international Arie Haan, is

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Ronaldo wins FIFA award

Zurich, Jan. 12, 2009 — Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year at a ceremony held by world football’s governing body. Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi was second and Liverpool’s Spanish striker Fernando Torres third.

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Spain remain top of FIFA world rankings

ZURICH, Jan 14, 2009 — European champions Spain remained top of the latest world rankings published by FIFA on Wednesday following a quiet month for international soccer. With few teams in action, the top 14 stayed unchanged as Spain stretched

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Foreign football players bought in Albania

TIRANA, Jan 12 – Ghanaian defender Adamu Mohammed has joined current Albanian Superliga leaders KS Vllaznia Shkodër on loan from Hacettepespor of Turkey. The 25-year-old joined Gençlerbirligi in 2006 from Asante Kotoko but was removed from the team at the

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Cana called by Inter

TIRANA, Dec 17 – Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana of Olympics of Marseille, member of the Albanian national team, has been called by the Italian Serie A club Inter Milan, the local media reported. Cana, 25, may be exchanged with Hernan

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Michel Platini visits Albania

When the French candidate for the UEFA throne, Michel Platini, visited Albania on November 8, 2006, to participate in the inauguration ceremony of a completed FIFA program in Albania, he also had a second agenda in his mind. He had

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Platini: I would like to see Albania in EURO 2016

Platini had the honor to address the FSHF general assembly with the opening speech. “Faleminderit Shqiperi (Thank you Albania),” saluted Platini in the Albanian language.” Even though Albania is a small country, it has great passion and love for the

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Albanian teams to have more chances to play Champions League

One of the strongest points of Platini’s campaign for the UEFA throne was to help small countries to have more teams in the group stages of the UEFA and Champions League. It was probably the reason that helped Platini attract

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 20 - Albania will be in a national mourning day during the funeral of football player  Panajot Pano, who passed away at the age of 71 in a Florida, U.S. hospital on Tuesday. 
The cabinet held a minute of silence at its meeting Wednesday before Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced the mourning day, which will be set upon the return of Pano's body to his homeland.
Pano will be buried with all state honors.
"The rare sportsman, the idol of the Albanian football, who, with his maginificnet play and especially with his scores will remain in the history of the albanian football and in the memory of the fans, will continue to be admired from those who knew him personally and played alongside, and also will continue to be remembered as a living legend of the Albanian sport," wrote President Bamir Topi.
Pano started his career as a goalkeeper in the Tirana youth academy but he became the most prolific striker of its arched-rival, Partizani. 
During his 18-year career he has played 24 matches with the Albanian national football team and was awarded in 2003 the Albanian UEFA Jubilee Award.
In March, Pano also received the order 'Honor of the Nation' from President Bamir Topi, Albania's highest official recognition.

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, April 15—Arie Haan has resigned as Albanian national team coach after a series of losses in World Cup qualifiers, local media reported Wednesday. The 60-year-old Dutchman began the campaign for next summer's South Africa finals by taking four points from the first two Group 1 matches. However, Albania failed to build on the promising start and lie second bottom of the section with just three matches remaining after the back-to-back losses.
"Mr. Haan submitted his resignation following the poor results of the Albanian football team in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers," head of FSHF, Armando Duka, said. The FSHF, Albanian Football Federation, have yet to decide who will lead the team for the remainder of the campaign and the friendly against Georgia on 10 June.
Dutch footballing legend Haan replaced Croatia's Otto Baric in December 2007 as Albania's coach and signed a two years contract in January 2008
At club level, Haan enjoyed a successful career with Ajax, Anderlecht, Standard Liège and PSV Eindhoven. He joined Ajax in 1969 and played for them when they won the European Champions' Cup for three consecutive years. As manager, he coached the Chinese national team for two years between 2002 and 2004 and was appointed Cameroon's coach for a brief period in 2006.

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                    [post_content] => La Valleta, Feb 11, -- Albania missed a chance to go to the top of its World Cup qualifying group by being held to a 0-0 draw by Malta on Wednesday.
Albania, coached by former Netherlands international Arie Haan, is third with six points, one behind both Denmark and Hungary.
Malta, however, was determined to earn its first point of the qualifying campaign and managed it with some solid defending and a solid display from Andre' Schembri.
Malta goalkeeper Justin Haber had saved well from Chievo Verona striker Erjon Bodgani as Albania threatened in the first period. And despite more possession, the Maltese lacked the cutting edge in the final third of the pitch. 
But Malta's display was more convincing than the 0-0 score line suggested. 
Malta mentor Dusan Fitzel eschewed the 4-5-1 formation in favour of a more adventurous line-up the 4-1-4-1 but this change of style and attacking intent failed to have a bearing on Malta's results. 
In fact, Fitzel fielded four strikers with Terence Scerri operating as a focal point for the local side as he held up the ball, drifted and created space for his team-mates to break into. 
Scerri's movement created 4-3-3 configuration when Malta was on the attack the game to their opponents. 
Skipper Gilbert Agius sat in front of the defense with Sammut and Schembri playing wide. This allowed Mifsud and Cohen to play up behind Scerri, making full use of their attacking talents which have made both of them such crucial players for their respective clubs. 
As usual Malta looked vulnerable from set pieces, and it was no surprise when Chievo attacker Bogdani came face-to-face with Haber but the Sheffield United keeper jumped towards the striker to block his effort at the half hour mark. 
Stung by Albania's lively opening, Malta woke from their sleepy start with a Scerri shot that he drilled just wide after 47 minutes. 
Malta would have been celebrating a famous victory had Scerri accepted an invitation to end three years of international anguish on the hour mark. Andre' Schembri whipped in a teasing through pass, but Scerri, the 24-year-old Hibernians striker placed the ball over the bar having lost the marker with the goalkeeper stranded. Malta remained the better side and deserved more when Mifsud pounced on Bulku's loose ball to put him clear but the onrushing keeper cleared the danger a few moments later. 
It was Scerri's movement and the intelligence of his interchanges with Andrew Cohen that created space for Mifsud. 
Andre' Schembri, an increasingly prominent presence in the game, ran menacingly at the Albania defense but his crossing shot finished just wide at the 67 minute mark. Fitzel decided to re-shuffle Malta's pack after 80 minutes, with skipper Gilbert Agius one of two departures after a satisfactory match. 
A link between Failla, one of the replacements and Mifsud almost brought the winner after 83 minutes, only for Mifsud to shoot wide off balance. 
A few moments later, Albanian keeper Hidi found Mifsud's shot too hot to handl,e but the defense cleared it away immediately. 
It was Albania who finished stronger, however, without posing any real threat to the Malta defense. 

MALTA J Haber, A Muscat [81'Failla], A Agius, L Dimech, G Agius [C] [86'Fenech], M Mifsud, K Sammut, A Cohen, A Schembri, T Scerri [69'Briffa], S Bajada 

ALBANIA I Hidi, A Dallku, E Beqiri, D Curri, A Agolli [46'Vangjeli 80'Lila], E Vrapi, E Vrapi, E Bulku, G LIka, E Skela, K Duro, E Bogdani [75'Berisha] 
Booked: Agolli, Vrapi, Lila

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                    [post_content] => Zurich, Jan. 12, 2009 -- Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year at a ceremony held by world football's governing body.
Barcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi was second and Liverpool's Spanish striker Fernando Torres third.
Also on the shortlist for the prestigious award was Milan playmaker Kaka - winner of last year's award - and Messi's Barcelona team-mate Xavi, who was voted Euro 2008 Player of the Tournament by a UEFA panel
Portugal winger Ronaldo, 23, won the honour for the first time after helping United win the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup.
The accolade also completed a hat-trick of top individual honours for Ronaldo, who had already won the football journalists' Ballon d'Or trophy and the FIFAPro World Player of the Year title voted for by his fellow professionals.
"It's an overwhelming moment, very special," said Ronaldo after receiving the award from Pele.
"I can say to my mother and sister, 'let the fireworks off now'. It's one of the most important moments in my life."
Ronaldo is the first player based at an English club to win the FIFA award, which had previously gone only to footballers playing for Spanish or Italian sides.
"There may be no English players here but I believe it's important for England that myself and Fernando Torres are here representing two English clubs," said Ronaldo before the ceremony.
"It is a victory for the English fans as well because the Premier League is strong, even though we must not forget the leagues in Spain and Italy remain strong as well."
The FIFA award is voted by the national team coaches and captains of the 208-member associations of world soccer's governing body.
Ronaldo was voted in first place by 136 of the coaches and captains while 76 put Messi top.
The United player picked up 935 total points, ahead of 678 for Messi and 203 for Torres.
Brazilian striker Marta won the Women's award for the third consecutive year, equaling the record of Germany's Birgit Prinz, who finished second this time round with less than a third of the points (328) that Marta accrued (1,002). England's Kelly Smith was fifth behind Cristiane and Nadine Angerer of Brazil and Germany respectively.
The Albanian Vote
Dutch coach Arii Haan, ignored Cristiano Ronaldo in his top three list, while Albanian National Team captain, Altin Lala, ranked the United star only third. Haan's top vote went for Frank Ribery, the Bayern Munchen Winger, followed by Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, and the Barcelona star, Lionel Messi. The Albanian captain preferred Messi as his favorite player, with Ribery second, and Ronaldo ranked only third.
Cristiano Ronaldo factfile
* Born on February 5 1985 in Funchal, Madeira Ronaldo's late father Jose Dinis Aveiro gave him the second given name Ronaldo in honour of former US president Ronald Reagan.
* He began attracting attention at the age of 10 and both Madeira's top teams Maritimo and Nacional scouted him. He played his youth football at Nacional before joining Sporting Lisbon, arch-rivals to his boyhood favourites Benfica.
* The turning point in his career came in July 2003 when he impressed Manchester United's players and manager Alex Ferguson with an outstanding performance against them when United came to play in the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon. He joined Manchester United shortly afterwards aged just 18 for £12.5 million.
* Since then Ronaldo has scored 102 goals for Manchester United in 264 matches for the club.
* The winger enjoyed a highly successful 2007-08 season, scoring 42 goals in all competitions as United won a Premier League and Champions League double.
* His exploits led to him becoming only the second player to win England's Footballer of the Year in successive seasons and just the third Portuguese player to win the Ballon d'Or award after Eusebio in 1965 and Luis Figo in 2000

                    [post_title] =>  Ronaldo wins FIFA award  
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                    [post_content] => ZURICH, Jan 14, 2009 -- European champions Spain remained top of the latest world rankings published by FIFA on Wednesday following a quiet month for international soccer.
With few teams in action, the top 14 stayed unchanged as Spain stretched their spell at the top into a seventh month with Germany and Netherlands their nearest challengers.
Albania moved up 3 places, ranked 78th, despite gaining no points in December 2008.
FIFA RANKINGS (previous positions in brackets)
1. (1) Spain
2. (2) Germany
3. (3) Netherlands
4. (4) Italy
5. (5) Brazil
6. (6) Argentina
7. (7) Croatia
8. (8) England
9. (9) Russia
10. (10) Turkey
78. (81) Albania


                    [post_title] =>  Spain remain top of FIFA world rankings  
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan 12 - Ghanaian defender Adamu Mohammed has joined current Albanian Superliga leaders KS Vllaznia Shkodër on loan from Hacettepespor of Turkey. 
The 25-year-old joined Gençlerbirligi in 2006 from Asante Kotoko but was removed from the team at the end of last season.
Adamu then pitched camp with Hacettespor but was loaned out late last month for more playing time. 
He teams up with compatriot, striker James Boadu, who joined Vllaznia in July last year from local side Kessben FC. 
Mohammed should be available for Vllaznia's first game after the winter break away to Shkumbini on 18 January.
Macedonian defender Nikola Karcev left Russian club Terek Grozny and returns to Albanian side KS Elbasani. 
The 27-years-old defender returns to Albania where he signed with his former club, KS Elbasani, for the rest of the season. 
Last season Nikola Karcev played a great season for Elbasani and was voted as the best player for 2008, after which he moved to Grozny.
Karcev will be joined in KS Elbasani by another Macedonian, the 25-years-old attacker Nikolce Kleckarovski who moved to Albania from FK Horizont Turnovo

                    [post_title] =>  Foreign football players bought in Albania   
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                    [post_date] => 2008-12-19 01:00:00
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec 17 - Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana of Olympics of Marseille, member of the Albanian national team, has been called by the Italian Serie A club Inter Milan, the local media reported.
Cana, 25, may be exchanged with Hernan Crespo and if finalized the move would be the biggest in the Albanian football market.
Football.fr gave the news referring to sources close to Inter's manager Massimo Moratti.
Cana is ethnic Albanian from Kosova but who has long lived in France.
Besides Inter, Bayern, Real Madrid, Everton, Arsenal and Rome have also expressed their interest for Cana.


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                    [post_date] => 2008-11-21 01:00:00
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                    [post_content] => When the French candidate for the UEFA throne, Michel Platini, visited Albania on November 8, 2006, to participate in the inauguration ceremony of a completed FIFA program in Albania, he also had a second agenda in his mind. He had to secure the vote of Armand Duka, the president of Albanian Football Federation (FSHF) for the upcoming UEFA presidential elections.
The 3-times Golden Ball winner, enthusiastic of the atmosphere he found in Tirana, "Like nowhere else!" were his words, allowed himself a joke in front of the media, while addressing Mr. Duka.
"If Mr. Duka doesn't vote for me, then I will never return to Albania," said the French football legend, therefore openly declaring the real goal of his visit to Albania. Indeed, two months later, Mr. Platini was elected chief of UEFA, by winning the election thanks to the votes of the small countries.
According to a pre-elections poll by French Football magazine, Albania was to support Platini, however, according to the German "Bild"; Albania was one of the countries to vote for Johansson, the former UEFA president. Yet, only Mr. Duka knows for sure which candidate he voted for.
Two years later, on November 11, 2008, the most powerful man of European football, revisited Albania for the 5th time, alas, none of those times has ever been as a player. It came 5 months after, both FIFA and UEFA, cancelled the suspension of FSHF from all international competitions, due to a conflict born between FSHF and Albanian Ministry of Sports on the FSHF's status and its independence. Now, all disputes between FSHF and Albanian Ministry of Sports seem to have bee resolved and Platini was happy to have a meeting with Ylli Pango, the Minister of Sports, where he didn't forget to request more guaranties from Mr. Pango on FSHF's independence.  
"We are proud of our democracy in UEFA, which is based on the democracies of 53 member federations," said Platini. "Your democracy is what makes our democracy. And the democracy can be achieved only through political autonomy. We respect national laws in a scrupulous way, but we are not willing to accept any interventions that threaten our independence. It's our will and goal to protect a federation's independence and we have shown so in the past. I know that situation in Albania is not one of the best, but in a meeting with President Topi (the Albanian President) I came to realize things have turned for the better. You have to understand that UEFA will always be here to support you" said Platini during the meeting.

                    [post_title] =>  Michel Platini visits Albania  
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                    [post_content] => Platini had the honor to address the FSHF general assembly with the opening speech. 
"Faleminderit Shqiperi (Thank you Albania)," saluted Platini in the Albanian language." Even though Albania is a small country, it has great passion and love for the game of football. And our goal is to help such countries."
According to Platini, one of the latest UEFA decisions was to raise the number of participating national teams in the final phase of the European competition from 16 to 24.
"The final phase of EURO 2016 will have 24 teams instead of 16. This decision was taken in order to help smaller nations to achieve more. I won't be surprised if Albania will be one of the countries to qualify to the finals of EURO 16."
At the end of his speech, Platini congratulated FSHF for the latest progress in Albanian football and the achievements of the national team in the international stage, among which the surprise draw with Portugal in Braga.

                    [post_title] =>  Platini: I would like to see Albania in EURO 2016 
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                    [post_content] => One of the strongest points of Platini's campaign for the UEFA throne was to help small countries to have more teams in the group stages of the UEFA and Champions League. It was probably the reason that helped Platini attract the votes of the smaller nations during the presidential elections, including Albania. 
"We have to clearly define our relationships in the football family, our relations with clubs and players," said the UEFA president. "We have created a new group stage for the Champions League where smaller countries will have more opportunities to compete. Albania is one those countries that can benefit from the new scheme." 
It is two years now that Platini works to bring to life his idea of a more pan-European Champions League, with more teams in the final phases.  The Platini plan has received fierce resistance from the top European clubs who have threatened UEFA with the creation of their own European league for clubs. 
On the other hand, Albanian clubs have always suffered elimination in the early qualifying stages of European competitions in the last two decades.



                    [post_title] =>  Albanian teams to have more chances to play Champions League   
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 20 - Albania will be in a national mourning day during the funeral of football player  Panajot Pano, who passed away at the age of 71 in a Florida, U.S. hospital on Tuesday. 
The cabinet held a minute of silence at its meeting Wednesday before Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced the mourning day, which will be set upon the return of Pano's body to his homeland.
Pano will be buried with all state honors.
"The rare sportsman, the idol of the Albanian football, who, with his maginificnet play and especially with his scores will remain in the history of the albanian football and in the memory of the fans, will continue to be admired from those who knew him personally and played alongside, and also will continue to be remembered as a living legend of the Albanian sport," wrote President Bamir Topi.
Pano started his career as a goalkeeper in the Tirana youth academy but he became the most prolific striker of its arched-rival, Partizani. 
During his 18-year career he has played 24 matches with the Albanian national football team and was awarded in 2003 the Albanian UEFA Jubilee Award.
In March, Pano also received the order 'Honor of the Nation' from President Bamir Topi, Albania's highest official recognition.

            [post_title] =>  Football Legend Passes Away 
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