Christian Pannuci set to become Albania’s new coach

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 18, 2017 13:01
Christian Pannuci. Photo; Wikipedia

Christian Pannuci. Photo; Wikipedia

TIRANA, July 18 – Italian Christian Pannuci is expected to take over as the new Albania coach, replacing compatriot Gianni De Biasi, who led the Albania national side for the past five and a half years.

Although not yet official, Italian and Albanian sports media have unveiled the 44-year-old former AC Milan, Real Madrid and Roma defender seems to have convinced the Albanian football association as a decent successor to De Biasi, Albania’s most successful coach who managed to take the national side to a first ever appearance to a major competition such as the Euro 2016.

The 44-year old is expected to sign this week a two-and-a-half years contract with the national side, with the Euro 2020 qualification set as a key condition for a possible contract extension.

The Italian has little experience as a manager, but his young age and modest financial criteria seem to have led to a deal.

Pannuci’s managerial experience started in 2012 when he served as assistant to Fabio Capello, one of the greatest Italian coaches, when he was leading the Russian national side. Pannuci also managed Serie B sides Livorno, Ternana in the past couple of years.

The Albanian national side was also considering Italians Paolo Di Canio, Giancarlo Camolese, Filippo Inzaghi and Dutch Clarence Seedorf for the post.

Italian Gianni De Biasi unexpectedly quit as Albania coach on June 14, only a day after he first announced he would be leaving Albania by next October at the end of the World Cup qualification campaign when his contract expired.

The decision came at a time when Albania made a turning point with a 3-0 away victory with Israel after a shameful five-game losing streak the national side had not experienced in more than a decade.

The away victory temporary places Albania third with 9 points, leading Israel on goal difference in a tough group stage that also features former world champions Italy and Spain who seem unrivalled in the top two finish.

The Albanian national side will play home to modest Liechtenstein on Sept. 2 before facing neighbouring Macedonia three days later in an away qualifier. The Red & Blacks will conclude their qualification campaign in October 2017 with two tough fixtures against former world champions Spain and Italy.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 18, 2017 13:01