Tirana secure Superliga promotion following embarrassing first-ever relegation

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 16, 2018 12:40

Tirana secure Superliga promotion following embarrassing first-ever relegation

TIRANA, April 16 – Tirana have mathematically secured their Albanian Superliga promotion following an embarrassing first-ever relegation in their almost century-long history in the top flight of the Albanian football as the country’s historically most successful club.

The promotion came following a 3-2 home victory against Pogradeci last weekend, giving Tirana a 13-point lead over second-placed Bylis with three final play-off games to go in Group B which Tirana comfortably lead throughout the season.

“I have never been in more difficulty than in this season. I am telling this only now that this chapter was closed. I thank the guys who sacrificed and did not betray the club in its most difficult moments. They did their best and brought back Tirana to where it deserves,” said Tirana president Refik Halili, a traditional sponsor of Tirana whom the key “Tirona Fanatics” supporters blame for the club’s relegation and mismanagement.

Halili owns the majority 66 percent stake in Tirana, with the remaining minority stake possessed by the Municipality of Tirana.

Tirana captain Erando Karabeci who has been playing as a midfielder with the club since 2009 when Tirana last won the Albanian Superliga said playing in the First Division had been a nightmare the club finally overcame and wishes Tirana’s Brazilian coach extends his stay to help the club next season.

The future of the Brazilian coach Ze Maria at Tirana is in question following a full season in Tirana’s lead. Failure to appear at a press conference and irritation even after Tirana secured its much-awaited return to the top flight hint the Brazilian has not been offered a contract extension.

 

A former Brazilian international who spent most of his career as a right back with Italian clubs until the mid-2000s, Ze Maria has been in charge of Tirana since mid-2017 facing the tough task of making it to the Albanian Superliga and bringing back irritated fans to the stadium.

Financial problems and a boycott by its “Tirana Fanatics” marred Tirana’s performance in the last 2016-2017 Superliga season following a good start.

Tirana have claimed the Albanian Superliga a record 24 times and won the Albania Cup 16 times, but have been poorly performing in the past decade.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 16, 2018 12:40