De Biasi to quit as Albania coach next October

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 13, 2017 15:37
de biasi

De Biasi (L) speaks at a press conference. Photo: Albanian Football Association

TIRANA, June 13 – Italian Gianni De Biasi says he will quit as Albania’s coach next October when Albania closes its World Cup qualification campaign with two tough fixtures against group leaders Spain and Italy.

The announcement came on Tuesday at a press conference in Tirana following a pressure-relieving away victory with Israel that ended a shameful losing streak for the national side.

Albania avenged Israel with an unexpected 3-0 away victory, ending a five-game losing streak and climbing to third in Group G of the World Cup qualifiers for the Russia 2018.

Coach De Biasi, who has been leading the national side for the past five and half years and managed to take Albania to a first-ever major tournament such as the Euro 2016 turning into ‘national hero’, says he will be looking for new challenges by late 2017.

“I have already made up my mind I will be leaving at the end of the qualifiers. That’s a natural process, with a beginning and an end. It’s time for to look for new challenges. All Albania has to do is not make a revolution and the ‘car’ will be perfect,” said De Biasi.

The 60-year-old coach had recently come under fire for the team poor performance and there were rumors he could prematurely leave the national side had Albania not avenged the 3-0 home defeat with Israel last November.

Albania’s free fall began last October when the national side was beaten by group leaders Spain, before suffering another two defeats against Israel and Italy and losing its two friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Luxembourg in the past couple of months.

“I think our qualifiers have met expectations except for the home fixture with Israel, marring our good journey,” said De Biasi.

De Biasi, whose contract expires next October at the end of the World Cup qualification campaign, said it’s too late now for the football association to offer him a contract extension.

“Had the football association wanted De Biasi, it should have already done it, today it is too late,” he added.

Albania’s football association had offered no contract extension to De Biasi as the Italian boss was facing his toughest time since he took over Albania in late 2011.

“De Biasi’s contract is coming to an end and we can negotiate whether he will stay under a new contract. Whatever the results, we will respect the contract to the end,” Albanian football association president Armand Duka said last week ahead of the Israeli qualifier.

The 60-year-old former Torino and Udinese club coach turned into a national hero for Albania in late 2015 after a historic direct qualification in a European championship in a tough group stage that also featured reigning European champions Portugal, Denmark and Serbia. De Biasi was also rumored to take over Italy following the Euro 2016, but remained loyal to Albania although he did not hide his ambition to train a big national side or club.

At the Euro 2016, Albania was unlucky to make it to the knockout stage as one of the best third-placed sides, punished by its goal difference. The national side lost to hosts France and Switzerland but beat Romania 1-0 in their group stage, in impressive performances that led to a heroes’ welcome upon their arrival in Tirana.

Last February, De Biasi was honored with an Italian presidential order of merit for promoting football and friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Back in 2016, De Biasi who also holds Albanian citizenship, was given the Special Golden Bench award by the Italian Football Association for his historic achievement of taking Albania to the Euro 2016 and promoting the Italian football school.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 13, 2017 15:37