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Luftëtari Gjirokastër FC

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Luftëtari Gjirokastër Football Club (Albanian pronunciation: [luftətaɾi ɟiɾɔkastəɾ]), also known as Luftëtari FC or simply Luftëtari is an Albanian football club based in Gjirokastër southern Albania. The club was founded on 1929 as Shqiponja Gjirokastër and has played at its home ground, the Gjirokastra Stadium, since 1973. They currently compete in the Albanian Superliga, the top flight of football in the country.

FC Luftëtari
Luftëtari crest
Full nameFC Luftëtari
Nickname(s)Bluzinjtë (Blue & blacks)
Short nameLuftëtari
Founded1929; 90 years ago (1929)
(as Shqiponja Gjirokastër)
GroundGjirokastra Stadium
Capacity8,400
OwnersGrigor Tavo (75%)
Municipality of Gjirokastër (25%)
PresidentGrigor Tavo
CoachKlevis Dalipi
LeagueAlbanian Superliga
2018–19Albanian Superliga, 8th
Current season

Contents

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

The club was founded in 1929 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.

Recent historyEdit

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 headcoach and Gentian Nora as General and Sport Director By finishing third in the Albanian Superliga 2017–18 season with Hasan Lika as Headcoach and Gentian Nora as Sport Director, they will make its debut in the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League season.[5]

StadiumEdit

 
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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

HonoursEdit

Major trophiesEdit

League

Albanian Superliga

Albanian First Division (Tier 2)

Minor trophiesEdit

Zëri i Popullit Cup

  • Winners (1): 1977

Bashkimi Cup

  • Winners (1): 1983

Zëri i Rinisë Cup

  • Winners (1): 1982

Shtypi Popullore Shqiptare 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
Notes
  • QR: Qualifying round

Current squadEdit

As of 20 October 2018

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

No. Position Player
1   GK Edvan Bakaj
2   DF Aurel Demo
4   DF Oltion Rapa
5   MF Albano Aleksi
6   DF Jackson
7   MF Realdo Fili
8   MF Erald Hyseni
9   FW Eric Warden
10   MF Angelos Chanti
11   FW Romario Cekaj
12   GK Shkëlzen Ruçi
13   DF Armenis Kukaj
16   MF Behar Ramadani
No. Position Player
17   DF Rustem Hoxha
19   MF Elian Çelaj
22   MF Maldin Ymeraj
23   DF Donald Rapo
26   MF Vladimir Yesin
27   DF Mërgim Neziri
30   DF Donaldo Açka
39   DF Dimitrios Kotsonis
44   MF Aristotel Bella
45   GK Avernold Qyrani
90   FW Ismael Dunga
99   MF 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. Position Player
  FW Rudion Mahmutaj
  MF Kostantinos Kondili
  DF Brunild Naçi
  DF Klevan Kendella
No. Position Player
  FW Sebastian Molla
  GK Andrea Shumeli
  FW Dhimiter Andoni
  MF 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. Position Player
  DF Stivian Janku (FK Bylis)

Historical list of coachesEdit

PresidentsEdit

Name Nationality Years
Grigor Tavo[10]   1999–2001
Flamur Bime   2003–2004
Flamur Bime[11]   2012–2015
Zamira Rami[12]   2015–2016
Grigor Tavo   2016–

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ Worldstadiums. "Stadia in Albania". Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  7. ^ Panorama Sport (9 August 2016). "Nis puna në stadium, Luftëtari luan një muaj jashtë Gjirokastrës" (in Albanian). Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  8. ^ Luftëtari 1–1 Partizani
  9. ^ Kohë të Shkuara por të Paharruara të Futbollit Gjirokastrit me Trajner Hito Hitaj! - Gjirokastra Online (in Albanian)
  10. ^ Tavo: Kemi projekt, mos u çudisni nëse mundim edhe Kukësin
  11. ^ Luftëtari, Bime hap “thesin” para Elbasanit
  12. ^ Luftëtari, Hysi merr “timonin”