England, Albania battle for Arsenal teen Alban Bunjaku

TIRANA, July 18 – Arsenal teenager Alban Bunjaku is at the center of an international tug-of-war between England and Albania. The 17-year-old Albanian boy has not signed professional terms for the Gunners yet but is already on England’s radar, which

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Argentina defeats Albania 4-0 in friendly

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, June 21 – Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez both scored as Argentina defeated Albania 4-0 in a friendly on Monday in its last warm-up before the Copa America– the South American continental championship. Ezequiel Lavezzi and Sergio

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Cana signs with Italian club Lazio

TIRANA, July 4 – Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana is to sign with Italian soccer club Lazio this week to make his proposed move from Galatasaray of Turkey. Cana, 27, is set to undergo a medical test in Rome with the

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Kenya’s James Situma joins Albania’s FK Tirana for 500,000 Euros

TIRANA, July 5 – The talented Situma becomes the first Kenyan to play soccer in Albania and is poised to play for his new side in the Europa league this coming season. Kenya international and former Sofapaka captain James Situma

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Bosnia beats Albania 2-0 in Euro 2012 qualifier

ZENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 7 – Second-half goals from Haris Medunjanin and Darko Maletic gave Bosnia a 2-0 win over Albania on Tuesday in a qualifying match for the 2012 European Championship. Boris Pandza’s header set up Medunjanin, who slotted the

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Cana set for Lazio

TIRANA, May 30 – Albanian Galatasaray star, Lorik Cana, is eager to move to the Italian football club of Lazio. The 27 year-old Albanian national has been in negotiations with the Biancocelesti for some weeks and the move looks set

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Albania to play Argentina in soccer friendly

TIRANA, May 17 – Albania will play soccer friendly next month, this time against one of the biggest teams in the world _ Argentina. Copa America host Argentina will play Albania on June 20 at River Plate’s Monumental stadium in

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Albania draws 0-0 with Macedonia in a friendly

KORCA, Nov. 17 – Albania was held to a 0-0 draw by visiting Macedonia on Wednesday in friendly. Both teams wasted several chances to break the deadlock, with Kristijan Kirovski missing a header in the 29th minute for Macedonia. Macedonia

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Albania shoots up in FIFA’s ranking

TIRANA, Nov. 23 – Albania’s national football team has had a good year in 2010, and it is looking forward to 2011 as it enters with a creditable third place in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group D behind France and

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Albania, Portugal admitted to UEFA grassroots charter

TIRANA, Oct. 26 – Albania and Portugal have been ratified as new members of the UEFA Grassroots Charter at basic level while eight other FAs have achieved further recognition for their work UEFA’s Executive Committee has approved the admission of

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, July 18 - Arsenal teenager Alban Bunjaku is at the center of an international tug-of-war between England and Albania.
The 17-year-old Albanian boy has not signed professional terms for the Gunners yet but is already on England's radar, which needs to beat Albania in attempting to secure the attacking midfielder's professional career.
Bunjaku was born to Albanian parents but grew up in Essex making him eligible to play for the Three Lions.
Albania's Football Federation is keen on the teenager to pledging his allegiance to them and were thought to have an advantage in landing Bunjaku.
But FA sources have confirmed to the Daily Mail that Bunjaku is now firmly on England's radar after being alerted of his talent through their nationwide scouting network.



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                    [post_content] => BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, June 21 - Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez both scored as Argentina defeated Albania 4-0 in a friendly on Monday in its last warm-up before the Copa America-- the South American continental championship.
Ezequiel Lavezzi and Sergio Aguero also added goals as Argentina played with most of its top stars, though coach Sergio Batista left three of his best forwards on the bench to start the match: Tevez (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid) and Aguero (Atletico Madrid).
Though, Batista said he had not settled on his starting 11 for the opening Copa match against Bolivia, it is most likely that Messi will be among the starters. 
"It makes me feel good the way (Messi) played," Batista said. "I think he played a great game, controlling the ball like you would expect him to. He looked comfortable on the field. He had a great game, and I'm happy for him."
The question seems to be if Tevez will start, or will it be Angel Di Maria, who started against Albania but came off after the first half.
Albania, no match for Argentina at full strength, played with a weakened team that was missing several top players including Galatasaray midfielder Lorik Cana and forward Erjon Bogdani of Italy's Cesena.
In total, 11 regular national team players originally called up by Kuze were not available. 
Albania's top forward Hamdi Salihi was refused permission to play by his Austrian club Rapid Wien, while central defender Lorik Cana is in discussions with prospective teams as he looks to leave Turkey's Galatasaray.
Lavezzi gave Argentina the lead in the 6th minute in an opportunity created by Messi. Messi drew several defenders to him and threaded a pass through to Lavezzi, who finished from close range.
Messi had three of Argentina's better chances in the first half but goalkeeper Arjan Beqaj stopped him from scoring. The Barcelona star finally broke through in the 43rd minute, receiving a pass in the area and slotting in a left-foot shot from 12 yards. He then set up goals for Aguero and Tevez.
Aguero, who entered early in the second half, chipped in from close range in the 75th after taking a 15-meter pass from Messi.
Tevez, who has not played for the national team since last year, scored in the 90th minute, with Messi again delivering the final pass.




                    [post_title] =>  Argentina defeats Albania 4-0 in friendly  
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, July 4 - Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana is to sign with Italian soccer club Lazio this week to make his proposed move from Galatasaray of Turkey.
Cana, 27, is set to undergo a medical test in Rome with the anticipation of signing a five-year contract at the Stadio Olimpico.
Cana spent last season at Galatasaray, whom he joined from Sunderland in 2010.
"I'm happy because a new adventure awaits me at Lazio," Cana said. "It's always nice to join a new club."
"I played reasonably well last season, but I hope to do even better in the next campaign. Lazio are a great club with great fans."
It is very likely that the move was urged by his former friend Igli Tare, a former member of the Albanian national team, now a manager with Lazio.



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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, July 5 - The talented Situma becomes the first Kenyan to play soccer in Albania and is poised to play for his new side in the Europa league this coming season.
Kenya international and former Sofapaka captain James Situma has completed his 500,000 Euro move to the Albanian FK Tirana based on a three-year deal.
Sofapaka president Elly Kalekwa said the defender had sealed the move and the club expects to be paid more money if Tirana sells Situma to another club. Sofapaka will receive 30 percent of all signing fees paid for the inspirational defender, who becomes the first Kenyan to be featured in the top Albanian league.
"This is a major move for the player and we were keen to support him, so that he can achieve his dream of playing professional football. He is a good player who will soon move to a bigger club."



                    [post_title] =>  Kenya's James Situma joins Albania's FK Tirana for 500,000 Euros 
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                    [post_content] => ZENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 7 - Second-half goals from Haris Medunjanin and Darko Maletic gave Bosnia a 2-0 win over Albania on Tuesday in a qualifying match for the 2012 European Championship.
Boris Pandza's header set up Medunjanin, who slotted the ball into the net in the 67th minute. Maletic came on a substitute and secured the victory by scoring the second with a volley in injury time.
Bosnia coach Safet Susic said he was "glad the boys finally showed what they can do," referring to his team's 3-0 loss to Romania last week.
Albania's Andi Lila was sent off in the 87th minute after fouling Elvir Rahimic.
Albania moved to the last but one place in the group's ranking.



                    [post_title] =>  Bosnia beats Albania 2-0 in Euro 2012 qualifier  
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                    [post_date] => 2011-06-03 09:00:00
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 30 - Albanian Galatasaray star, Lorik Cana, is eager to move to the Italian football club of Lazio. The 27 year-old Albanian national has been in negotiations with the Biancocelesti for some weeks and the move looks set to be completed soon.
"From now on I'll only write in Italian and Albanian," he wrote on his Facebook page after receiving messages from Lazio supporters. "The number 19 shirt at Lazio is free, right? Save it for me!"
Retired player, Agim Cana, also commented on his son's imminent move to the Stadio Olimpico. "I am very proud of my son, who is a splendid and good-natured lad. He inherited some characteristics from me, like the fact he never gives in and does not fear his opponents, always showing respect. Perhaps Lorik is better than me on a technical level, but we both have that battling spirit."



                    [post_title] =>  Cana set for Lazio 
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                    [post_date] => 2011-05-20 02:00:00
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, May 17 - Albania will play soccer friendly next month, this time against one of the biggest teams in the world _ Argentina.
Copa America host Argentina will play Albania on June 20 at River Plate's Monumental stadium in a final warm-up game for the July 1-24 tournament.
"Albania is No. 50 in the FIFA rankings, so they will be an ideal opponent for us," Batista said.
The Argentina coach is set to field Leo Messi and the rest of his main lineup in that game. Fringe players will get their chance in earlier warm-up matches.



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                    [post_date] => 2010-12-17 01:00:00
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                    [post_content] => KORCA, Nov. 17 - Albania was held to a 0-0 draw by visiting Macedonia on Wednesday in friendly.
Both teams wasted several chances to break the deadlock, with Kristijan Kirovski missing a header in the 29th minute for Macedonia.
Macedonia had a better first half with many other opportunities lost mainly from Kirovski, while the Albanian team seemed very tired.
Albania came close in the 46th when Hamdi Salihi's shot from six yards (meters) was saved by goalkeeper Edin Nuredinoski. In the 75th, Emiliano Vila missed a close-range header after a cross from Jahmir Hyka.
Albania had a better second half after Croatian coach Josip Kuze put into the pitch many young and new names in the squad.
Macedonia has won four of the seven meetings between the countries, with two draws and one victory for Albania. They have played only firendlies.



                    [post_title] =>  Albania draws 0-0 with Macedonia in a friendly 
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                    [post_date] => 2010-11-26 01:00:00
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 23 - Albania's national football team has had a good year in 2010, and it is looking forward to 2011 as it enters with a creditable third place in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group D behind France and Belarus. 
A string of good performances in recent months has now had its expected impact on the November edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, where the team coached by Josip Kuze have made history by reaching 58th place.
That is the highest place Tirana has ever had in the list of all 208 FIFA-affiliated national teams since the World Ranking first appeared in August 1993. 
This November's improvement marks a new milestone in the nation's football history.
Thirteen years ago, Albania sank to their all-time low, 124th place in August 1997. 
Albania are third in their group and were undefeated until October's 2-0 reverse away to Belarus. They previously beat Luxembourg and took a point apiece in 1-1 draws away to Romania and at home to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Taking 2010 as a whole, Albania have climbed 39 places in the World Ranking, from 97th up to 58th, which is also partly attributable to good performances in friendly matches.
Croatian coach Josip Kuze, who took the national helm in May 2009 from luckless Dutch boss Arie Haan, now has until the end of March next year to ready his team for the challenges ahead.  
 


                    [post_title] =>   Albania shoots up in FIFA's ranking  
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                    [post_date] => 2010-10-29 02:00:00
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 26 - Albania and Portugal have been ratified as new members of the UEFA Grassroots Charter at basic level while eight other FAs have achieved further recognition for their work
UEFA's Executive Committee has approved the admission of two more European national football associations to the UEFA Grassroots Charter, and ratified the upgrading of other associations within the charter as they expand their grassroots activities. 
A total of 49 associations are now members of the UEFA Grassroots Charter. The charter was set up in 2004, and represents an endorsement of national associations' grassroots projects. UEFA motivates and backs the associations in consolidating such programmes, and the charter encourages a dynamic approach whereby associations are constantly urged to develop their work in this sector.
Albania - who signed the charter in a ceremony at UEFA headquarters - and Portugal have been ratified as new members at basic level, while other members at the advanced level have been adding other elements to their work in this vital area of the game.
UEFA firmly believes that if the game does not provide healthy foundations, the flourishing of football's elite level would be much more difficult to achieve.
Signing the charter means that an association satisfies certain minimum criteria. 



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            [post_date] => 2011-07-22 09:00:00
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, July 18 - Arsenal teenager Alban Bunjaku is at the center of an international tug-of-war between England and Albania.
The 17-year-old Albanian boy has not signed professional terms for the Gunners yet but is already on England's radar, which needs to beat Albania in attempting to secure the attacking midfielder's professional career.
Bunjaku was born to Albanian parents but grew up in Essex making him eligible to play for the Three Lions.
Albania's Football Federation is keen on the teenager to pledging his allegiance to them and were thought to have an advantage in landing Bunjaku.
But FA sources have confirmed to the Daily Mail that Bunjaku is now firmly on England's radar after being alerted of his talent through their nationwide scouting network.



            [post_title] =>  England, Albania battle for Arsenal teen Alban Bunjaku 
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