Albania is the new country to ask Mourinho to be the Manager of their national team. The voice came from a member of this national team Altin Lala, who plays for German club, Hanover(Balkanweb, 19/12/2007). Other contenders for the job are Gentile, Krankl and Scheffer. While the Albanian FA revealed the later contenders’ names, Jose Mourinho, was only proposed by Lala, who thinks that even if Mourinho was appointed, Albania would still not be able to move forwards. Lala said this during an interview for Albanian Media Online BalkanWeb. According to Lala, the reason for this is that Albania has only recently learned modern football.
A little while ago, Albanian football was under scrutiny regarding the alleged matchfixing that took during the qualifiers for Euro 2008. The poor results in the qualifiers led to Albania sacking their previous manager, and since then no one has replaced him. The proposed names so far are only names discussed in cafes and are people’s personal choices.
It would seem than only a few Albanian football fans in the UK, have taken the discussion for a new manager seriously, and they have decided to write a letter to the Albanian government and FA arguing that a manager should be appointed not because he is a ‘big’ name, but because he is committed to the task of bringing the best out of the Albanian talent.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
By Fatmir Terziu
... National football team has been under fire for the last three matches of the qualifying tour for Euro 2008. It reflected in Albanian politics. For the first time in history the information about the possibility of the matches being sold, brought a political debate. The Albanian Prime Minister was very aggressive in his declaration, and called for the National Team to be disbanded. Erion Brace of the SP was against this, declaring the PM declaration as absurd. In the meantime the Albanian minister of Culture and Sport has written to FIFA to investigate the claims. One of the top goal-scorers of the national team, Bushi, also disagrees with the PM. If we borrow Kadare’s phrase, the next coach of the Albanian national team, will be ‘General of a dead army’...
With England, a major footballing nation, failing to qualify for Euro 2008, a debate has arisen. Having previously employed Sven Göran Eriksson as manager, the English FA, opted for Steve McLaren as his replacement, when the Swede failed to take England beyond the quarterfinals of a major international competition. McLaren, a home-grown manager, however, did worse: failing to qualify for Euro 2008. And so, a debate has risen in England about who McLaren’s replacement should be, after he was sacked following England’s defeat at Wembley, to Croatia.
With the prospect of a lucrative wage, there is a large list of contenders for the position of the next England boss. However many fans want the position to be filled by an Englishman instead of a foreign manager, such as Jóse Mourinho or Fabio Cappello; believing that England should be managed by one of their own. On the other hand, English managers do not have a proven track on the top level. For example, many do not see Harry Redknap, the leading English contender on the same rank as Jóse Mourinho. So, should the next England boss be English? To answer the question, other national teams should be observed.
First there is Italy, the reigning World Champions. Italy has always had an Italian manager, and has had a lot of success over the years, having won the World Cup four times. But McLaren could not do with England what Marcelo Lippi did with Italy in 2006.
Then there are the reigning European Champions, Greece, who were lead by a German manager, and defied the odds to lift the European Cup in 2004. So the knowledge of a foreign boss helped Greece to success they probably would not have achieved had they been managed by a Greek manager.
On the other hand, there is Greece’s neighbour, Albania. Having never had a foreign manager, they opted for Hans Peter Briegel, a German, in 2005, but to no gain. More recently, they appointed Otto Baric, who started well, inspiring Albania to a friendly win against Greece on his first game, just after they had been crowned European Champions. The Albanian fans were expectant from then on, but Baric failed to deliver, and Albania failed to qualify for Euro 2008 miserably. So for Albania, another foreign manager had failed to live up to expectation. Furthermore Albanian National football team has been under fire for the last three matches of the qualifying tour for Euro 2008. It reflected in Albanian politics. For the first time in history the information about the possibility of the matches being sold, brought a political debate. The Albanian Prime Minister was very assertive in his declaration, and called for the National Team to be disbanded. Erion Brace of the SP was against this, declaring the PM declaration as absurd. In the meantime the Albanian minister of Culture and Sport has written to FIFA to investigate the claims. One of the top goal-scorers of the national team, Bushi, also disagrees with the PM. If we borrow Kadare’s phrase, the next coach of the Albanian national team, will be ‘General of a dead army’.
Foreign managers may not always bring success to a national team, but neither does being patriotic. In England’s case they ought to go for a proven manager this time, who might just bring the best out of the English players. The FA already made the catastrophic decision of being patriotic, when they chose Steve McLaren. That is why most probably, the next England manager will be foreign. The real question is: The Special One or The Italian One?
50 Cent plays to 25,000 in Kosovo despite warnings of violence
5:00AM Wednesday December 19, 2007
PRISTINA, Serbia - 50 Cent has the smile many in Kosovo hope to have soon.
In an electrifying, open-air concert on a freezing night, the rapper from Queens, New York became the biggest star to perform in Pristina, a poor city that aims to be capital of the world's newest state when Kosovo breaks away from Serbia.
A lot of people thought he would not come, given warnings of a violent crisis from some sides in the standoff over Kosovo. Riot police were in evidence round the stadium.
"I haven't missed a show date in my career," said 50 Cent, who has the twinkling eyes and wide grin of a man that fought his way to success through dark times and against tough odds.
"I've been to Iraq. I performed for the soldiers. I've been to Israel. I've been to Beirut. They actually bombed the week after I left," he said in an interview before going on stage before a sell-out crowd of 25,000.
"I won't get a chance to see the world, like the entire world, unless I go everywhere. I see my music break through language barriers."
50 Cent performed in a soccer stadium between the ruins of a Serb police station bombed by NATO in 1999 and a railway yard where thousands of Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians were deported by Serb troops.
"They live in the same type of environment that on a smaller level we are subjected to where I'm from. I know exactly what happens when the guns come out. Maybe that's why they (identify) with me," he said.
The 32-year-old hip hop artist grew up on the non-luxury side of New York City, was orphaned early on and spent years dodging death in a drugs-and-guns scene until his strong talent for stories in rhythm and rhyme came through.
He has nine bullet scars and a growing list of hit albums in his straight-talking style to prove it.
The 90 per cent Albanian majority in the province of Kosovo, vowing to claim statehood soon despite Serbia's opposition, can identify with that: they were second-class citizens for years until they fought their way free at a heavy cost in lives.
"It's necessary for you to get by under those circumstances, and (the audience) make it apply to what they are actually doing," the singer said of his music's global popularity.
50 Cent takes no political line in the Kosovo dispute between the West and Serbia, now shaping up for what Serb ally Russia said on Monday could become an "uncontrollable crisis" that Moscow blames on a reckless West.
Washington and the European Union say they will recognize Kosovo independence as the only way out of an impasse, after NATO and the UN took over the province in 1999 to halt massive ethnic cleansing by Serb forces fighting an Albanian insurgency.
"I'm from Jamaica, Queens," said 50 Cent. "So for me to come out here and see 25,000 tickets sell out in eight hours is amazing. I'm probably more excited than the average fan."
His presence in Pristina delighted young Kosovo Albanians looking to the future. There were nearly as many fans outside the stadium as inside.
"It was super. Tonight we saw 50 and we hope that the next thing we'll see is independence," said teenager Edona Ahmeti.
Russia is not the only power worried about violence in Kosovo if it carries out its vow to declare independence in the first months of next year. The NATO-led peacekeeping force of 16,000 troops in the province is on heightened alert.
"It's tough to say what my personal thoughts are. I don't want to run the world. But it won't prevent me from coming to entertain," said 50 Cent.
"I don't know what to say to them under these circumstances. Maybe just stay cool."