Coach Giovanni De Biasi, an Italian who has also received Albanian citizenship, called on “those youngsters who want a different type of life for themselves" to follow the players’ example.

Nationality: AlbanianDate of Birth: 20 January 1971Association general secretary since: 2012

Football arrived in Albania in the early 20th century when the inhabitants of the northern city of Shkoder were surprised to see a strange game played by students at a Christian mission. The sport swiftly grew in popularity in a country then under Ottoman Empire control.

Albania's clubs and national teams continue to strive to deliver at European and world levels. The national side beat neighbours and new continental champions Greece 2-1 in Tirana in September 2004 in what was a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier. More recently, a 1-0 victory in Portugal and a 1-1 draw with Denmark raised the possibility of UEFA EURO 2016 qualification. Another notable result was the 1-1 friendly draw away to France in November 2014.

During the Balkans turmoil in the mid-1990s, the city experienced dramatic events such as the unfolding of the 1997 unrest in Albania and a failed coup d'état on 14 September 1998. In 1999, following the Kosovo War, Tirana Airport became a NATO airbase, serving its mission in the former Yugoslavia.

The 70% of the country that is mountainous is rugged and often inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab situated in the former district of Dibër, reaching up to 2,764 metres (9,068 ft). The climate on the coast is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny, and rather dry summers.

KF Tirana is the most successful and decorated club in Albania, having won a record total of 49 major trophies, which includes 24 league titles. The club has earned 2 league stars as they have won over 20 titles, as well as a star for the Albanian Cup and Albanian Supercup for having won these trophies at least 10 times each.

Albanian Superior League (KF Tirana Statistics in Albanian Superliga)[39]

Despite the game's growth, the difficult economic situation in the country impeded efforts to forge a sound infrastructure for clubs. Nonetheless, Albania produced a number of talented players who moved abroad to boost their careers. The outstanding examples were Riza Lushta, Loro Boriçi and Naim Kryeziu who plied their trade in Italy for Juventus, SS Lazio and AS Roma, respectively, between 1940 and 1944.

12 – Since the 2014–15 Albanian Superliga season, Tirona Fanatics of the Selman Stermasi Stadium, as a sign of recognition towards the fans who sit in the Tirona Fanatics, considered the 12th man in the pitch.[citation needed]

Tirona Fanatics are in close cooperation with the Kosovan group Plisat of FC Prishtina, and Macedonian group Shvercerat of FK Shkupi.

The team repeated the success the year after, but this was an obvious challenge to Partizani's generals and Dinamo's secret service bosses. After having practically won the 1966–67 title three matches in advance, Tirana was banned from the competition and the title was assigned to Dinamo.[19][20]

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The players will receive the symbolic key to Tirana and applications for diplomatic passports, to highlight their informal role as ambassadors for Albania.

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Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Albania’s cash-strapped government also decided to allocate a €1 million (Dh4.1m) reward for the national squad.

“Sport can be a good way of exercising diplomacy, and you have shown that you are our ambassadors to the world," foreign minister Ditmir Bushati said. “Albania has many diplomats, but you have achieved true excellence with the message you have sent to the world."

The name of the fan club is written in the distinct dialect of Tirana as it is colloquially pronounces Tirona instead of Tirana. The supporters are considered to be one of the most organised and powerful fan clubs of any sport in Albania.

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FK Partizani Tirana is an Albanian professional football club based in Tirana, Albania, that competes in the Superliga. Founded in 1946, the club's home ground is Qemal Stafa.

De Biasi pledged he would continue to stay with the Albanian team.

The years following the Second World War saw a new political order, with the introduction of a communist system having a positive impact on soccer's development. Football became popularised, its framework being strengthened as the sport was organised and encouraged in state enterprises, schools, villages and towns.

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Mainly Catholics converted in the 17th century, while the Orthodox Albanians followed suit mainly in the following century. Initially confined to the main city centres of Elbasan and Shkoder, by this period the countryside was also embracing the new religion.[48] The motives for conversion according to some scholars were diverse, depending on the context. The lack of source material does not help when investigating such issues.[49]

After the sport caught on elsewhere, the Football Association of Albania (Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit – FShF) was created on 6 June 1930. The association gained membership of world football governing body FIFA in 1932, and later was a founder member of UEFA in 1954.

Albania scored their first goal in a major tournament to beat Romania 1-0 and finish third in Group A. But narrow losses to Switzerland and host France cost them a place in the knockout stages as they failed to finish as one of the four best third-place teams.

“This arena is dedicated to the Euro 2016 red-and-black national team," would be engraved, he said.

Lowland rainfall averages from 1,000 millimeters (39.4 in) to more than 1,500 millimeters (59.1 in) annually, with the higher levels in the north. Nearly 95% of the rain falls in the winter.

KF Tirana is an Albanian football club based in the country's capital city, Tirana. The men's football club is part of the multi-disciplinary sports club SK Tirana, and is the most successful in Albania, having won 49 recognized major trophies. They play their home games at the Selman Stërmasi Stadium in Tirana and they compete in Albania's highest tier of football, the Albanian Superliga.

Tirana

An apt metaphor for Albanian football during this era is a Russian doll: the further you delve inside, the more mysteries within mysteries you find with nothing ever quite how it first seems. Just to be semantically correct; it would of course be a Marxist-Leninist revisionist doll, each nested figure painted with a stern and implacable face, a revolutionary glint in its eye and sporting no facial hair whatsoever.

TIRANA // Albania’s football squad was welcomed home Thursday with a red-carpet ceremony on its return from the country’s first participation at the European Championship, despite the team being knocked out at the group stage.

• Shulku became FShF general secretary on 1 November 2012. he also holds a FIFA Pro coaching license and has had coaching jobs with Partizani and KS Besa.

Since the Albanian Superliga began in 1930, KF Tirana have played 1889 Superliga matches, scored 3141 goals and conceded 1697. The club has collected so far 2802 points, won 986 games, drawn 486 and lost 417. The club's goal difference is +1444 and the winning difference is +569.[40]

KF Tirana B (Albanian: Klubi i Futbollit Tirana B) is KF Tirana's B team, and it was originally founded in 1932 but had since dissolved before it was refounded on 22 January 2013.

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Data correct up to the end of the 2015–16 season.

Uefa responded with uncharacteristic harshness: the second leg was annulled and Partizani were thrown out of Europe for the next four seasons and the offending players received lengthy bans. After a quarter of a century of having to tread lightly with the Albania problem, this was probably a very cathartic punishment for the authorities to hand out.

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KF Tirana plays most of its official and friendly games at the Selman Stërmasi Stadium in Tirana. The Selman Stërmasi Stadium was built in 1956 and was previously named the 'Dinamo' Stadium till 1991 when it was permanently given its new name. The Football Association of Albania and the club decided to name the stadium post mortem after the eminent KF Tirana player, coach and president, Selman Stërmasi.