On February 17th, 2016 Kosovo turns eight years old as an independent state and yet the football national teams aren’t allowed to play anything but friendly games under certain rules. This was decided two years ago UEFA/FIFA gave Kosovo the green light to do so and they made their official friendly debut against Haiti on March 5th 2014. The game ended 0-0.
- Kosovo cannot play against former Yugoslavian countries
- No national anthem can be played
- No flag of Kosovo on the arena nor on the shirt
- Behind the shirt there must be a star after ‘Kosovo’
Since that OK from UEFA/FIFA following Kosovo friendlies has included games against Turkey (1-6), Senegal (1-3), Oman (1-0), Equatorial Guinea (2-0) and Albania (2-2) but also games against teams at club level. Turkey have been very helpful and even invited our U21 team to take place in a tournament held in Antalyaspor just recently. Well there they played teams such as Albania (1-1), Bahrain (0-0), Saudi Arabia (0-0), and Ukraine (0-2). Azerbaijan withdrew so Kosovo played a game against Iran’s U19 which ended in another 0-2 loss.
On the women’s side they have been busy too. Just last week the Prishtina team KF Kosovo’s women took over the baton and travelled to Turkey. Well there they played 1-1 against Antalyaspor’s women and Danish team BSF but also managed to crush Swiss team Niederamt (7-0). A part of women’s national team took place in a German tournament last summer where they beat England in the final (4-1). The first team played Albania’s women not long ago and on Kosovo’s Independence Day, February 17th, the two nations will play once again at Elbasan Arena.
So while waiting for a full membership our boys and girl have been keeping busy. During this time several of our others sport organizations have had more success. FIBA accepted Kosovo’s basketball federation almost a year ago at the same time as Tennis Europe did. EHF welcomed Kosovo’s handball (2014) and even let them arrange a tournament for the developing countries. In 2012 Kosovo was even included in the International Sailing Federation which is ironic considering the fact that Kosovo doesn’t even have e coast! The list goes on but UEFA/FIFA cannot be found on the list.
Kosovo may be a small country but it’s a nation which has brought up many talented football players and there have been many times where we’ve all joked about them being Kosovo’s biggest export merchandise. Kosovo is a national that just wants to play, just like any other team and the question isn’t if but more like when?
The next meeting is going to be held later this month in Zürich where the president of Kosovo’s football federation Fadil Vokrri alongside the general secretary Eroll Salihu have been invited to participate in a congress.