Sport in Albania

Sport in Albania revolves mostly around team sports, such as football, basketball, volleyball and handball. Other sports includes boxing, weightlifting, tennis, swimming, judo, karate, athletics, table tennis, and chess. Football in particular has seen a rapid transformation, with the Albanian national football team making its debut at the 1964 UEFA European Football Championship. The national football team also qualified for the 2016 UEFA European Football Championship. Many Albanian athletes have also achieved significant success and have won European and Mediterranean titles in numerous sports during the years, such as wrestling, football, athletics and weightlifting. Albanian athletes have won a total 49 medals for Albania in 8 different Mediterranean sports. Albania has had some success in others sport such as volleyball and basketball as well.


Football is the most popular sport in Albania.[citation needed] It arrived in Albania at the beginning of the 20th century.[citation needed] Football is played by children at school and by grown-ups on the many indoor and outdoor fields located throughout the country. The sport is governed by the Football Association of Albania (Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit).

The first recorded match was between students at a Christian mission in Shkodër. Other towns and cities followed suit and on 6 June 1930 the Football Association of Albania was established. The association became a member of football's governing body FIFA in 1932, and joined the European governing body UEFA in 1954 as a founding member.

Albania was the winner of the 1946 Balkan Cup and the 2000 Malta International Tournament. At the UEFA Euro 1964 in Spain, Albania made its first-ever appearance at a major men's football tournament. Albania's highest FIFA World Ranking for men was 22nd, in August 2015.

Albania qualified for the UEFA Euro 2016 in France. Playing in the Groupstage in Group A against France, Switzerland and Romania.[1]

The youth teams of Albania got a rich history in football as the Albania national under-21 football team won twice the Balkan Youth Championship in 1978 and 1981 and they also qualify once at the 1984 UEFA European Under-21 Championship , losing in the Quarterfinals against Italy.[2]

1946: Balkan CupEdit

The early years saw a notably successful Balkan Cup in the 1946 campaign. Albania won the cup after overcoming Yugoslavia on level points but with a better goal difference.[3]

1964: Among the best 16 teams of the continentEdit

In 1964, Albania competed in a Euro Cup competition and it was the only time Albania was among the best 16 teams of the continent, due to Greece forfeiting their matches and Albania being given a walkover.[4] At the end of the tournament Albania was considered to rank 9th in Europe.[5][6][7]

2014–2016: Success at the European ChampionshipEdit

Albania qualified for UEFA Euro 2016,[8] its first appearance at a major men's football tournament after 50 years.[9][10] This earned the team the Honor of Nation Order from Albania's President Bujar Nishani.[11] After the Serbia–Albania match, the national team of Albania was given awards of honor and city recognition by the cities of Tirana, Vlore, Kamëz, and Bajram Curri.[12] However, the team finished last among the third-placed teams and didn't progress beyond the group stage.[13]

In 2020, Albania won a group for the first time by finishing first in group 4 of UEFA Nations League C. Albania also won a spot for the play-offs of the 2022 World Cup and was promoted in UEFA Nations League B.

Kategoria SuperioreEdit

The Kategoria Superiore is the main division in Albania, their first season started in 1930.[14] Apart from 1938 to 1944 it would be taken place every season. The club with the most titels is KF Tirana who won this competition 25 times.[15] The Albanian Football Cup was founded since 1938-39 in which KF Tirana being the most successful club in the country with 16 titels closely followed by Partizani Tirana who won this competition 15 times so far.[16]

The Albanian league sides enjoyed success also in European football competitions.[17] KF Skënderbeu Korçë qualify twice for the UEFA Europa League first in 2015-16 and for the second time in 2017-18, as they qualify as the first Albanian football club after four qualifying rounds to the groupstage.[18] Partizani Tirana won the one and only international club titel for Albania as they won the 1970 Balkans Cup against Beroe Stara Zagora in the finals.[19]

KF Tirana qualified three times in the Round of Sixteen in the European Cup first in 1982-83 defeating Linfield in the first round.[20] They achieved the same results in 1988-89 by defeating this time in the first round Ħamrun Spartans from Malta after two leg's.[21] They faced in the round of 16 the Swedish league side IFK Göteborg but lost both matches after two legs were played.[22] In the following year in 1989-90 KF Tirana would once more qualify for the best 16 of Europe as they defeated this time another Maltese side in Siliema Wanderers after two legs in the first Round. Their highest win at this competition came in the second leg at home defeating the Wanderers with 5–0.[23] They faced in the next round Bundesliga side FC Bayern Munich. They couldn't go through to the quarterfinals as they lost both leg's.[24]

In the UEFA Cup Flamutari Vlora is the most successful club for Albania. As they did compete for the first time in 1986-87 against FC Barcelona in the first Round drawing both matches and nearly qualified for the next stage, at this competition. Losing out on the away rule.[25][26] At the following season in 1987-88 they achieved their greatest result so far. They qualified for the first time in the history at the Round of sixteen. Defeating surprisingly yugoslav side Partizan Belgrad with 2–0 at home and would qualify for the second round after an 1–2 defeat in which Sokol Kushta scored an famous goal for his club side.[27] In the following round Flamutari Vlora defeated then East German side Wismut Aue after two legs, winning at home with 2–0. They faced for the second time in a row Barcelona in which they lost the first leg in Camp Nou with 4-1 but would beat the Spanish side in the following leg with 1-0 by an goal from Kushta, to secure the most famous win for Albania in a UEFA club competition.[28]

Albania women's national football teamEdit

The women's national team was formed in 2011. The women's highest FIFA World Ranking was 40th in April 2015. The FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 was the first time Albania entered a senior competitive tournament.[citation needed]


Albania has a long tradition in volleyball as it is the second-most successful club sport in Albania after football.[29] Especially the Albanian female national team have an strong reputation in this sport. The women's of Dinamo Tirana reached the final of the CEV Women's Champions League twice in their history, in 1979–80 and 1989–90 finishing both times in third place. They also qualified for the finals in the CEV Cup in 1986-87 where they didn't take place in the finals, do to the Regime at that time. It is the best sport achievement for Albania out of any club sports, they participated so far.[30]

The Albania women's national volleyball team won at the 1987 Mediterranean Games in Syria, their biggest success ever.[31] In their following participation at the Mediterranean Games in 1991 they finished their campaign in 4th place. In the same year the women's of Albania qualified for the Women's European Volleyball Championship in 1991 Italy where they finished 11th. It is their only time they participated at this competition.[32]

The women's of Albania also participated with success at the Balkan Female Volleyball Championship. Winning this Tournament in 1990 in Bulgaria, two years before they finished runners up in Tirana. They collected four medals overall.[33]

The Albania national team participated in the 2018 Women's European Volleyball League, defeating Estonia in the third-place match, winning an unforeseen bronze medal.[34]

Achievements in VolleyballEdit

Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Olympic Games 0 0 0
FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship 0 0 0
Mediterranean Games 1 0 0
Women's European Volleyball League Division Silver 0 0 1
CEV Women's Champions League 0 0 2
Total 1 0 3

Balkan Volleyball ChampionshipEdit

Year Rank
  1979 Bronze  
  1986 Bronze  
  1988 Runners Up  
  1990 Champions  



Albania competed in two European championships at EuroBasket 1947 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where the Albanians finished 14th[35] and at EuroBasket 1957 in Sofia, Bulgaria finishing in 16th place.[36] Some years later they nearly qualified for the EuroBasket 1975 in Yugoslavia finishing third in the qualifying. Winning matches against Luxemburg with 95-71 beating Iceland with a record win of 112-77 and Sweden with an score of 71-82 respectively. Missing out slightly for their "third" Eurobasket appearance in their Basketball history.[37]

Mediterranean GamesEdit

Albania also participated twice at the Mediterranean Games in Basketball. Their debut participation came in 1991. They also participate in the 2009 Mediterranean Games in which they had their best performance by finishing 6th. Beating notably Serbia with 83–69 to secure their first win at this competition.[38]

Mediterranean Games
Year Position Pld W L
  1991 8th 5 0 5
  2009 6th 6 1 5
Total 11 1 10

Olympic GamesEdit

The Albania men's national basketball team, would try twice to qualify at the Summer Olympics in Basketball. As they participate in two Pre-Olympic Basketball Tournaments. First in the qualifying in 1972. They had three matches, losing all but one close against the Netherlands 84-81 missing out to the Playoffs.[39][40]

Their following participation came in 1992 in the 1992 Pre-Olympic Basketball Tournament. They competed in Group A. The Albanians securing their first win at this competition against Switzerland 84-85 as it was their only win in their campaign. Albania had close loses against Italy 73-87 and Latvia with 78-94 despite that Albania failed to qualify for the playoffs stage. With an 5th-place finish.[41]

Albanian Basketball LeagueEdit

The Albanian Basketball League have a long history as their first division was held in 1946 so far BC Partizani Tirana is the most successful Club at this League, as they won it 33 Times in their history most recently in 1996. It is also the most successful Albanian team in Europe. Competing in the past with success in the FIBA European Champions Cup and other major competitions.[42]

The history of B.C. Partizani Tirana in the European competitions starts on December 18, 1968, when Italian champions Pallacanestro Cantù (then Oransoda Cantù) were seeking an “easy journey” in Albania when it had to meet B.C. Partizani Tirana in the Champion Club's Cup (in that time the highest European competition organized by FIBA). The match ended with the result 73–73. The playmaker of B.C. Partizani Tirana, Agim Fagu scored 48 points in this match, and for that was awarded with the “FIBA Banner Badge” by the Secretary-General of FIBA, William Jones, who was present at this match.

BC Partizani Tirana first competed for the Albanian Basketball Superleague in the 1969–70 FIBA European Champions Cup,[43] but lost both their first-round games against CS Dinamo București. In the 1970–71 FIBA European Champions Cup, forfeited against İTÜ from Turkey in the first round due to an cholera outbreak at the time in Turkey[44]

In the 1972–73 FIBA European Champions Cup BC Partizani Tirana faced Jeunesse Sportivo Alep from Syria, who withdrew yet again, allowing BC Partizani Tirana to progress to the round of 16 for the first time in their history. They then faced Crvena zvezda from Yugoslavia, losing both games.[45] The 1973–74 FIBA European Champions Cup campaign saw even bigger success for BC Partizani Tirana, who faced Csepel SC in Hungary. Despite an unlucky 57–58 loss away, at home the Albanian side won a FIBA European Champions Cup match for the first time, 78–71, to progress yet again in the round of 16 for the third year running. There, Partizani Tirana faced Wienerberger from Austria. They proved for the first time to be competitive in such a high stage, winning with 72–71. In the second leg in Wien they missed their chance to qualify for the quarterfinals, losing 78–68.[46]

In the 1974–75 FIBA European Champions Cup Partizani Tirana played Sparta Bertrange away in Luxemburg, and won comfortably with 103–89, for their first away win in a FIBA Cup competition. At home in Tirana they beat the opposition deservedly with 90–70, resulting in an impressive aggregate of 193–159 in the process. In the round of sixteen Partizani Tirana had to face Bulgarian side BC Balkan Botevgrad,but withdrew before the first leg and lost so the chance to qualify for the next round as well.[47]

After some years where BC Partizani Tirana did not participate in the FIBA European Champions Cup, they returned in the 1978–79 FIBA European Champions Cup, competing for the first time in the quarterfinals. In Group E they faced KK Bosna Royal, BC Brno and AEL Limassol B.C. as their opponents. In the first match they had to face at home BC Brno, Partizani beating them comfortably with 100–79. In the next match they faced KK Bosna Royal away in Sarajevo. Partizani lost the match with 64–99. In the third match they faced AEL Limassol at home. They beat them easily with 151–58 at the process being its highest win in this competition. In the fourth Quarterfinal's group match Partizani Tirana faced BC Brno away. It was the most important match for Partizani in its Basketball club history. As they still had the chance to qualify for the semifinals. Partizani couldn't hold on to the result, as they did in the first half (41-46) as they lost the match in the end with 104–83 and also their "chances" to qualify for the semifinals.

In the following 1979–80 FIBA European Champions Cup season B.C. Partizani Tirana faced in the Quarterfinal Groupstage in group E KK Partizan Belgrade, Budapesti Honvéd SE and Al Ittihad Aleppo respectively. BC Partizani Tirana would show a strong display. Winning four matches alone three at Home. Defeating Budapesti Honvéd SE at home with 91-85 then KK Partizan Belgrade with 101-98 and Al Ittihad Aleppo at home with an result of 105–93. To finish second in this Group, missing out close on the semifinals at the end. Partizani was among the best twelve clubs of Europe.[48]

Albania women's national basketball teamEdit

The Albania women's national basketball team is the most successful Basketball team in Albania.

They participated in two international Tournaments so far three times at the Mediterranean Games first in 1987 Syria. They won in their debut participation the tournament, after beating the women's from Turkey in the finals. To win their maiden gold medal in their debut participation.[49] They would compete two more times most recently for the third time in 2009 Pescara. Where they finished in 6th place.[50]

The Albanian female also competed regularly at the Championship for Small Countries. In which they won three medals. They first came runners up in 1996 losing to Iceland with 81–73 respectively. Before winning just six years later against them with 84–79 to secure their second achievement in their history. In 2008 they once more won silber after losing to Malta in the finals.[51]


Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Olympic Games 0 0 0
FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 0 0 0
EuroBasket 0 0 0
Mediterranean Games 1 0 0
Championship for Small Countries 1 2 0
Total 2 2 0


Boxing is a successful Sport in Albania.

Albania competed recently at the AIBA World Boxing Championships held in 2021 Belgrade. Alban Beqiri would win the first ever medal for Albania at this Competition. Winning Bronze in the Light middleweight category.[52]

Florian Marku is a former Kickboxer who compete in boxing. In 2014 he won the WKU World Championship in Kickboxing.[53] He would win the IBF world title against Maxim Prodan. He won after 10 rounds via split decision.[54] Being declared Boxing world Champion.[55] He recently fought against Jorick Luisetto in the Wembley Stadium, extending his unbeaten record in Boxing, after beating him via split decision.[56]

Albania would compete in Boxing at the 2018 Mediterranean Games held in Tarragona. Krenar Zeneli would secure the silver medal in Boxing at the 2018 Mediterranean Games – Men's bantamweight, the first silver medal for Albania in Boxing at the Mediterranean Games [57]

Summer OlympicsEdit

Albania made his debut at the Olympic Games at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Four men and one female represented the country, in two different sports.[58] The weightlifter Ymer Pampuri achieved an great feet as he is the first and only Albanian to break an Olympic record, in military press, after lifting 127,5 kg respectively.[59] After 20 years without participating do to the regime, boycotting the next four Olympic Games. Albania is participating since 1992 regularly at the Olympic games.[60] They made their Winter Olympic Games debut in 2006 in Turin.[61]

In recent years Albania achieved some good results. Briken Calja finished 5th in Weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 69 kg division.[62] In the following olympics he came closer as he finished 4th at the 2020 Olympics in Tokio. Missing the bronze medal by one kg after lifting 341 kg.[63] Luiza Gega qualified for the finals in Athletics after finishing 5th in the semifinals, with a time of 9:23.85 being the first albanian athlete to do so. In her final run she would finish in 13th place.[64] Despite that Albania never won any medals at the Summer Olympics.[65]

But Albanians with albanian ethnicity were , quite successful at the Summer Olympics for other nations.[66]Shaban Tërstena is a wrestler who won two medals for Yugoslavia at the Summer Olympics. In the 1984 Los Angeles games he won the Gold Medal at the Men's freestyle 52 kg divison.[67] In the following games he won the silver medal, being so the most successful athlete of albanian descent.[68]

Fellow Wrestler Shaban Sejdiu participated in four Summer Olympics for Yugoslavia. He became the first albanian athlete to win a medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics in the Men's freestyle 68 kg category. Winning the bronze medal.[69] In the following Summer Olympics in Los Angeles he once more stepped on the podium as he won, once more the bronze medal. This time in the Men's freestyle 74 kg discipline. He became the first athlete of albanian descent to win multiple medals at the Olympic games.[70]

Aziz Salihu is a boxer of albanian descent from Kosovo. He participated three times for Yugoslavia, in the Super heavyweight category. He would win the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los angeles.[71]

In recent history albanians from Kosovo were quite successful at the Olympic games.[72] Majlinda Kelmendi a Judoka from Peja competed for Albania at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London but without success. As she lost in the Round of Sixteen. [73] Four years laters she would participate for Kosovo at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. [74] In which she won the first ever gold medal for her country after beating Odette Giuffrida in the finals.[75] [76]

At the following 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokio the albanians from Kosovo were successful. As they won two gold medals by two female judokas.[77] Distria Krasniqi won the first medal for Kosovo in Tokio in the Women's 48 kg category against Funa Tonaki in the finals.[78] Followed by Nora Gjakova who won the Gold medal in the Women's 57 kg event. Beating the french judoka Sarah-Léonie Cysique to secure the third gold medal for Kosovo. in it's olympic history, so far. [79] [80]

Mediterranean GamesEdit

Albania made his debut at the Mediterranean Games in 1987 Latakia ,Syria. It would be their most successful games as the women's of Albania would win gold in Basketball and Volleyball.[81] Kristi Robo would win one gold medal in Shooting. Albania won in total eight medals in their campaign. To finish the 1987 Mediterranean Games in an 11th-place finish.

Their most successful sport is Weightlifting in which Albania won 26 medals in which of them being 5 gold medals, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals. Followed by sports such as Shooting 7 medals and Athletics with seven medals with two being gold.[82] Albania won so far 49 medals in which of them being 11 Gold, 19 Silver and 19 Bronze medals, since their debut.[83] They won medals in eight different sport competitions. Ranking 17th in the all-time medal table.

Their highest ranking per Sports is 7th in Volleyball 8th in Basketball and 9th in Weightlifting, being the only three sports who Albania is ranking in the top ten so far.


Athletics has been a successful individual sport in Albania. Izmir Smajlaj won gold in the men's long jump in 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade and Luiza Gega who won silver at the 2013 Summer Universiade in the 1500 metres run. The first medal for Albania at the Summer Universiade.[84] She also won silver in the women's 3000 metres steeplechase in the 2016 European Championships in Athletics in Amsterdam.[85] She wrote history for Albania as she won the first ever Gold medal for her country at the 2022 European Athletics Championships in Munich. Winning the contest with a time of 9:11.31. It is also her first gold medal, in her athletic carrier at the European Athletics Championships so far.[86][87] Achieving also an European Athletics Championships record.[88]

Luiza Gega would also compete for Albania at the 2016 Summer Olympics and 2020 Summer Olympics in the Women's 3000 metres steeplechase. She would be the Flag bearer for Albania at the Summer Olympics in 2016 [89] and 2020 together with Briken Calja. Luiza Gega would qualify as the first Albanian in the history for Albania to the finals in Athletics at the 2020 Summer Olympics. As she would finish in 5th place with a time of 9:23.85 at the end enough to qualify for the final.[90] In which she would finish in 13th respectively.[91]

Albania is also successful in Athletics at the Mediterranean Games in which they won seven medals. two gold, two silvers and three times bronze. Luiza Gega is the most successful athlete for Albania at this competition. Winning first silver in 2013 and her second medal came at the 2018 Mediterranean Games winning Gold in the 3000 metres steeplechase.[92] She recently won Gold in the 2022 Mediterranean Games. Improving her own record with an time of 9:14.29. She is the first Albanian athlete to achieve this feet at the Mediterranean Games.[93]


Shooting is a well known sport in Albania.

The most known shooter from Albania is Elizabeta Karabolli who won three medals at the European Shooting Championships. She won her first medal in 1977 Rome bronze then Silver in 1978 and Gold in Frankfurt 1979 in the 25 m pistol discipline. She was the first female European champion in shooting for Albania [94]

Ermira Dingu won in the 50m rifle prone her first gold medal in 1980 Madrid, the first medal in this category for her Country.[95] Lindita Kodra became the third European female Shooting Champion for Albania in 2007 Granada in Spain.[96] She also represented Albania at the 2008 Summer Olympics in China in Bejing.

Albania won in total 5 medals at the European Shooting Championships in which of them being three Gold, one silver and one bronze.[97]


It is a sport with a young history in Albania. As they didn't participate before at this sport. Matvei Petrov born in Russia is representing Albania since 2018 in the Pommel horse event.[98] In the 2020 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup series he would win bronze the first ever medal for Albania at this sport.[99] He recently won the gold medal in the 2020 European Championships with an score of 14.566 in total.[100] This is the first medal won for Albania at the European Men's Artistic Gymnastics Championships, in their gymnastics history.[101]


Weightlifting is one of the most successful individual sports for the Albanians, with the national team winning medals at the European Weightlifting Championships and other international competitions. Albanian weightlifters have won a total of 32 medals at the European Championships with of them being 9 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze. In the World Weightlifting Championships, the Albanian weightlifting team has won one gold medal in 1972, a silver in 2002 and a bronze in 2011. At the Mediterranean Games, the nation has won 5 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals since their debut.[102][103]

Medalists at European Championships
Medal Name Year Event
  Bronze Agron Haxhihyseni   Reims 1987 Men's 52 kg
  Bronze Luan Shabani   Athens 1989 Men's 56 kg
  Bronze Artur Duraj   Aalborg 1990 Men's 60 kg
  Bronze Ilirian Suli   Sofia 2000 Men's 77 kg
  Silver Fetie Kasaj   Władysławowo 2006 Women's 58 kg
  Silver Romela Begaj   Lignano Sabbiadoro 2008 Women's 58 kg
  Silver Erkand Qerimaj   Bucharest 2009 Men's 77 kg
  Bronze Romela Begaj   Bucharest 2009 Women's 58 kg
  Silver Romela Begaj   Minsk 2010 Women's 58 kg
  Bronze Erkand Qerimaj   Minsk 2010 Men's 77 kg
  Bronze Daniel Godelli   Kazan 2011 Men's 69 kg
  Silver Romela Begaj   Antalya 2012 Women's 58 kg
  Silver Daniel Godelli   Tirana 2013 Men's 69 kg
  Bronze Romela Begaj   Tirana 2013 Women's 58 kg
  Gold Erkand Qerimaj   Tel Aviv 2014 Men's 77 kg
  Silver Daniel Godelli   Tel Aviv 2014 Men's 77 kg
  Bronze Erkand Qerimaj   Split 2017 Men's 77 kg
  Gold Briken Calja   Bukarest 2018 Men's 69 kg
  Silver Briken Calja   Batumi 2019 Men's 73 kg
  Bronze Briken Calja   Moscow 2021 Men's 73 kg
  Gold Evagjelia Veli   Tirana 2022 Women's 55 kg
Medalists at World Championships
Medal Name Year Event
  Bronze Romela Begaj   Anaheim 2017 Women's 69 kg


Wrestling is well participated in Albania. Especially most recently.[107] Albania made his debut in Wrestling at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athen, since than they participated reagulary in the olympic games and in other competitions. [108] [109] Albania won so far five medals at the Mediterranean Games in Wrestling. In which of them being one time gold [110] one time Silber and three times bronze, since their debut. [111]

Zelimkhan Abakarov is a Russian-born Albanian wrestler of Chechen origin. He is the most known Wrestler in Albania, as he won most recently the Gold medal, in the Mediterranean Games.[112] The first ever gold medal for Albania in Wrestling.[113] At the 2022 World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade he wrote history, as he became the first Albanian to win the Gold medal in the Men's freestyle 57 kg division. [114] [115]

Sahit Prizreni, is a known wrestler from Albania. He is a World wrestling bronze medalist from 2007 in Baku. He competed for the second time for Albania in the Summer Olympics, in 2008 in Bejing.[116] Sahit advanced to the round of 16 in the Men's freestyle 60 kg category where he lost to Bazar Bazarguruev from Kyrgyzstan. After that he would win the silver medal at the 2011 European Wrestling Championships in Dortmund.[117]

National sports teamsEdit





See alsoEdit

Sporting venuesEdit

National leaguesEdit

Sports eventsEdit


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