KF Luftëtari

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KF Luftëtari (Albanian pronunciation: [luftətaɾi ɟiɾɔkastəɾ]), also known as Luftëtari FC or simply Luftëtari was an Albanian football club based in Gjirokastër, southern Albania. The club was founded on 1926 as Shqiponja Gjirokastër and has played at its home ground, the Gjirokastra Stadium, since 1973. They last competed in the Kategoria Superiore, the first tier of football in the country.

Luftëtari FC
Luftëtari Gjirokastër Club Logo.svg
Full nameLuftëtari Football Club
Nickname(s)Bluzinjtë (Blue & blacks)
Short nameLuftëtari
Founded1929; 92 years ago (1929)
(as Shqiponja Gjirokastër)
GroundGjirokastra Stadium
OwnersBekim Halilaj (75%)
Municipality of Gjirokastër (25%)
PresidentBekim Halilaj
Head coachNeritan Novi
2019–20Kategoria Superiore, 10th (relegated)
WebsiteClub website
Current season


Early historyEdit

The club was founded in 1926 under the name Shqiponja Gjirokastër. It underwent many subsequent name changes over the years: Gjirokastër (1949), Puna Gjirokastër (1951), Luftëtari Gjirokastër (1958), Shqiponja Gjirokastër (1992) and to its current name Luftëtari Gjirokastër in 2002.

During the Communist Albania Luftetari was deemed to have a good football academy, which provided for several national team players, such as Theodhori Kalluci, Sefedin Braho, Lefter Millo, Arjan Xhumba, Arjan Bellaj, Altin Haxhi, and Gjergji Kalluci.

Luftëtari finished as the league runner-up in the 1977–78 season, their highest achievement to date.

Final years and collapseEdit

On 2 July 2015 Mustafa Hysi was appointed as the club's head coach Gentian Nora as general sport director of the 2015–16 Albanian Superliga season, with the aim of achieving promotion back to the Albanian Superliga.[1]

Luftëtari were promoted back to Albanian Superliga after a three-year absence as they defeated Apolonia Fier on the last matchday of the regular season in Group B of the Albanian First Division.[2][3] They then faced Group A winners Korabi Peshkopi in the championship final at the Qemal Stafa Stadium on 19 May 2016, where they clinched their 8th First Division title as they won 11–10 in a penalty shootout that saw 24 penalties being taken following a goalless draw and extra time.[4] Making a surprise performance in 2016-2017 season Luftetari finished in 4th Position after more than 20 years with Mladen Milinkovic as Head coach and Gentian Nora as General and Sport Director By finishing third in the Albanian Superliga 2017–18 season with Hasan Lika as Head coach and Gentian Nora as Sport Director, they will make its debut in the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League season.[5]

The club collapsed in 2020 due to financial mismanagement and players were leaving the club to pursue careers elsewhere.[6] A new team was established and named AF Luftëtari which had to start at the third tier of Albanian football.[7]


Gjirokastër Stadium

The club plays its home games at the Gjirokastra Stadium, which was built in 1973 and is located near the centre of Gjirokastër and holds 8,400 spectators.[8] Following Luftëtari's promotion back to the Albanian Superliga in 2016, the stadium required a complete renovation in order to meet the necessary requirements to host home games in the top flight. Work on the stadium began in August 2016 and the surface was to be replaced and plastic seats were to be installed throughout the stadium.[9] The first stage of the reconstruction was completed in November 2016, which meant that the stadium was able to host Albanian Superliga games once again. The first stage consisted of replacing the playing surface, the installation of 300 plastic seats in the main stand, the installation of CCTV as well as the refurbishment of the changing room for both players and officials. The cost of the work carried out totalled 15,000,000 Albanian lek, around €110,000 at the time, and it was a joint investment by the Municipality of Gjirokastër, the Albanian Football Association as well as the club's owner Grigor Tavo. The first game of the 2016–17 season to take place at the stadium came against Partizani which ended 1–1 with around 7,000 fans in attendance.[10]


Major trophiesEdit


Kategoria Superiore

Kategoria e Parë (Tier 2)

Minor trophiesEdit

Zëri i Popullit Cup

  • Winners (1): 1977

Bashkimi Cup

  • Winners (1): 1983

Zëri i Rinisë Cup

  • Winners (1): 1982

Shtypi Popullor Shqiptar Cup

  • Winners (1): 1977

50th Anniversary of Football in Albania Cup

  • Winners (1): 1963

European recordEdit

As of 12 July 2018

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Agg.
2018–19 UEFA Europa League 1QR   Ventspils 3–3 0−5 3–8
  • QR: Qualifying round

Current squadEdit

As of 17 June 2020

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   ALB Avernold Qyrani
2 DF   ALB Aurel Demo
3 DF   ALB Enes Isufi
5 DF   ALB Armenis Kukaj
6 DF   ALB Donald Açka
7 MF   ALB Rimal Haxhiu
7 FW   ALB Serxhio Emini
8 MF   ALB Erald Hyseni
9 FW   ALB Joan Çela
11 FW   ALB Jurgen Dushkaj
13 DF   GRE Antonis Karabinas
15 DF   ALB Stiven Puci
16 DF   ALB Klaus Alinani
No. Pos. Nation Player
17 MF   ALB Alvi Ahmetaj
19 DF   ALB Franci Lala
21 MF   ALB Gresild Lika
22 MF   ALB Klinti Qato
24 GK   ALB Sadik Basha
27 DF   ALB Redon Dragoshi
28 DF   ALB Mikel Brahilika
44 DF   ALB Amer Duka
45 FW   ALB Arbër Mehmetllari (on loan from Lokomotiva)
66 MF   ALB Elian Çelaj
88 GK   ALB Arlis Shala
99 MF   ALB Aldrit Oshafi

Other players under contractEdit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
FW   ALB Rudion Mahmutaj
MF   ALB Kostantinos Kondili
DF   ALB Brunild Naçi
DF   ALB Klevan Kendella
No. Pos. Nation Player
FW   ALB Sebastian Molla
GK   ALB Andrea Shumeli
FW   ALB Dhimiter Andoni
MF   ALB Erind Jahelezi

Out on loanEdit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   ALB Stivian Janku (FK Bylis)

Historical list of coachesEdit


Name Nationality Years
Grigor Tavo[12]   1999–2001
Flamur Bime   2003–2004
Flamur Bime[13]   2012–2015
Zamira Rami[14]   2015–2016
Grigor Tavo   2016–2019
Bekim Halilaj   2019-


  1. ^ Luftëtari, Hysi merr “timonin” Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Luftëtari 2–1 Apolonia
  3. ^ Luftëtari hap shampanjën e elitës
  4. ^ Luftëtari kampion i Kategorisë së Parë pas 24 penalltive
  5. ^ JUGUnews (2018-05-25). "VIDEO/Festa e Luftëtarit për në Europa League". Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  6. ^ Kurrë më parë në këtë situatë/ Shkërmoqet ekipi i Kategorisë së Parë, ikin 2 titullarët e radhës - Panorama (in Albanian)
  7. ^ Ndryshime rrënjësore në Gjirokastër, ja si do të quhet ekipi i ri - Panorama (in Albanian)
  8. ^ Worldstadiums. "Stadia in Albania". Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  9. ^ Panorama Sport (9 August 2016). "Nis puna në stadium, Luftëtari luan një muaj jashtë Gjirokastrës" (in Albanian). Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  10. ^ Luftëtari 1–1 Partizani
  11. ^ Kohë të Shkuara por të Paharruara të Futbollit Gjirokastrit me Trajner Hito Hitaj! - Gjirokastra Online (in Albanian)
  12. ^ Tavo: Kemi projekt, mos u çudisni nëse mundim edhe Kukësin
  13. ^ Luftëtari, Bime hap “thesin” para Elbasanit
  14. ^ Luftëtari, Hysi merr “timonin”