With the Football Federation of Kosovo having a meeting with both FIFA and the Football Association of Serbia in Zurich last week the possibility of a Kosovar national team once again rose to the attention of the international football community.
|Meetings...the FFK met with FIFA|
FFK president Fadil Vokrri and his Serbian counterpart Tomislav Karadžić agreed, with Sepp Blatter, to meet again at the end of November ahead of FIFA’s executive committee meeting on December 4th and 5th.
The world governing body announced in May last year that Kosovo would be allowed to play internationals against their members despite not being part of FIFA themselves, only to later revoke that decision after strong protests from the Serbian FA.
Big name players with Kosovar backgrounds, such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami, signed a petition in September 2012 asking Sepp Blatter to allow the Kosovo national side to play internationally.
Meetings and decisions on the matter were postponed until February of this year when FIFA announced that, as long as national symbols weren’t displayed, then Kosovar youth, amateur, women’s and club teams could play games.
Following the recent meetings, it seems Kosovo will be able to play in a similar way to the Catalonia and Basque teams which meet once or twice a year and ‘borrrow’ players from the FIFA-recognised nations they play competitive international football for.
Kosovo haven’t played an international since February 2010 when they lost 3-2 to Albania, 3 years after their previous match which was a credible 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia. On both occasions the squad was predominantly home-grown and low-key.
We at Non-FIFA Football Updates decided to pick a hypothetical best Kosovo XI, based on players who’d be eligible to represent any future national side. Here’s what we came up with.
Shaqiri Bajrami Januzaj
Ferati Cana I. Berisha Dallku
Etrit Berisha (24, Lazio) – After rising to prominence with Kalmar in the Allsvenskan the penalty taking shot-stopper was snapped up by Lazio in the summer and starts for Albania.
Armend Dallku (30, Vorskla Poltava) – An obvious choice at right-back, Dallku has huge experience with over 200 games in the Ukrainian top-flight as well as 61 caps for Albania.
|Leader...Albania captain Cana|
Lorik Cana (30, Lazio) –Albania captain and the strongest defender at Kosovo’s disposal, Cana is currently a mainstay in the Lazio defence after spells at Galatasaray, Sunderland and Marseille.
Ilir Berisha (22, Örebro) – After impressing in the Swedish top-flight during the past year Berisha is another Kosovo-born player expected to be called up to the Albania national side soon.
Beg Ferati (26, Sion) – Not a conventional left-back Ferati has spent most of his career in Switzerland, the country he also has 1 cap for, with Sion and Basel
Valon Behrami (28, Napoli) – Currently enjoying Champions League football with Napoli the talented Behrami counts Fiorentina, West Ham and Lazio amongst his former clubs and is a Switzerland international.
Granit Xhaka (21, Borussia Mönchengladbach) – An extremely talented youngster Xhaka is a regular fixture in the Bundesliga and is an under-17 World Cup winner with Switzerland and regular in the current senior side.
Adnan Januzaj (18, Manchester United) – Gifted winger who rose to prominence this season in the Premier League, Januzaj could represent a number of nations which we discussed here.
|Proud...Shaqiri celebrates with a Kosovo flag|
Emir Bajrami (25, Panathinaikos) – Recently moved to Greece after a successful spell with Twente, Bajrami has scored twice for Sweden before and can also play on the wing.
Xherdan Shaqiri (22, Bayern Munich) – Arguably the most talented player in the team Shaqiri is Switzerland’s key man and won the treble with Bayern Munich last season.
Albert Bunjaku (29, Kaiserslautern) – Pips Erton Fejzullahu due to his experience, Bunjaku scored 13 goals for Kaisterslautern in the 2. Bundesliga last season and was part of the Switzerland team at the 2010 World Cup.
GK: Samir Ujkani (Palermo, 25). MF: Përparim Hetemaj (26, Cheivo), Kristian Nushi (31, St Gallen), Almen Abdi (27, Watford) FW: Erton Fejzullahu (25, Djurgårdens).