Sport in Albania, a historical overview
Like in Europe, sport in Albania is the most popular and most followed sport. Although a small country the fans and the emotions of the matches are always there, perhaps not at a highly developed international level but at the national level it is quite prevalent.
Sport in Albania - History
The sport in Albania, mainly football, arrived at the beginning of the 20th century. The first match that took place was between students in a Christian mission in Shkodra, where after this match the game grew in popularity and in 1919 the first football club in Albania was founded, which was KS Vllaznia Shkodra.
A year later, in 1920, SK Tirana was founded, and after Tirana, teams were created in other cities, and on June 6, 1930, the Football Association of Albania was established. This association soon became a member of the governing body of FIFA football, in 1932 and in 1954 joined the European governing body UEFA as a founding member.
The first local championship took place in 1930 and was composed of 6 teams, where the winner of this championship for the first time was KF Tirana.
Football has been used more as a popular entertainment where teams like KF Tirana, KS Dinamo, Vllaznia Shkoder and FK Partizani have dominated the sport in Albania, which they continue to do even today.
In addition to the main championship or as it is otherwise known, the Superior Category, in 1939 the Albanian Football Cup was established, which is the main competition of the national cup. The winner of this trophy has the right to participate in the first phase of the qualification of the Europa League, something very beneficial for the sport in Albania.
The winner of the Superior Category and the winner of the Albanian Cup would face each other for the Albanian Super Cup trophy, which started in 1989.
Albanian sports teams
Sport in Albania is dominated by teams from the capital such as: Tirana, Partizani and Dinamo a few years ago. The club of Tirana is the club with the most trophies won, 24 champion titles against Partizan with 16 titles (which are also the current champions) and the Dinamo team with 18 titles won.
In the last 10-12 years, sport in Albania has had only one name and it has been Skenderbeu of Korca. The team from Korca has won the championship 8 times plus other trophies but it also became one of the most successful teams after participating in the Europa League groups. But the problems with match-fixing sentenced him to 10 years of not playing in the UEFA Cups, a very harmful decision for the personality and sport in Albania, a very severe punishment that has not yet been accepted by the club leaders and the issue is still open .
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Albanian national football team
The Albanian national football team participates in the 3 major competitions organized by UEFA which are FIFA World Cup, European Championship and UEFA Nation League. This national team has never managed to qualify for the World Cup finals and in the first matches played in the Nation League it failed to take first place in its group.
Unlike these two competitions, the Albanian National Football Team in 2016 managed to qualify for the finals, the European groups that took place in France. This was the greatest historical achievement of sports in Albania.
The team at that time was led by the Italian De Biassi, where with players like: Lorik Cana, Taulant Xhaka, Mavraj, Hysaj and many, many other champions managed to go to the groups of the European France 2016.
In the 3 matches that took place in this group, the Albanian Football Team managed to get only 3 points, a 1-0 victory against the Romanian team and 2 losses against the host country France and Switzerland. With these results, the passage of the group was impossible even with the playoff, making Albania's dream very short.
This year the national team participates in the qualifiers for the European 2020 held in Portugal, but unlike in 2016, the qualification seems impossible as it is in 4th place and the second place to lead in Portugal is very far away.
Albania in August 2015 had the best ranking by FIFA in its football history, ranking 22nd, while the lowest ranking was 124th in August 1997.
The colors of the jersey are red and black and the fans are known as the Red and Black Fans and are among the most supportive and ardent fans a country can have.
stadiums in Albania
For the qualifying matches of "France 2016" at the disposal of the national team was placed Stadium Elbasan Arena with a capacity of 12,800 seats, then was built Loro Borici Stadium in Shkodra with a capacity of 16,022 seats and became the stadium where the Albanian national football team would play home matches.
The new national house will be the National Arena which is under construction and located in Tirana. The capacity of this stadium is 22,500 seats and has a cost of 70,000,000 euros. The stadium includes all the requirements of UEFA and is one of the best stadiums in the Balkans and why not the best, and is another asset that adds to the sport in Albania.
This stadium will open its doors in the return match against the national team of France for the European qualifiers now in November and this match is expected to pave the way for many, many other matches that this national team will play in the future and why not many successes. .