FK Kukësi

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FK Kukësi
Full name Futboll Klub Kukësi
Nickname(s) Armata e Veriut (supporters)
Tifozat Kuksian (supporters)
Founded 4 March 1930; 84 years ago (1930-03-04)
as Shoqëria Sportive Kosova
Ground Zeqir Ymeri Stadium
Kukës, Albania
Ground Capacity 10.000
President Safet Gjici
Head Coach Artim Šakiri
League Albanian Superliga
2013–14 Albanian Superliga, 2nd
Website Club home page
Current season

Futboll Klub Kukësi is a professional Albanian football club based in the city of Kukës. The club plays its home games at the Zeqir Ymeri Stadium and they currently compete in the Albanian Superliga, which is the highest tier of Albanian football. The club played in the lower divisions for much of its history since 1930, prior to their 2012 promotion to the Albanian Superliga, where they have been runners up in both seasons they have competed in.


Early history[edit]

The club was formed on 4 March 1930 in Kukës under the name as Shoqëria Sportive Kosova, around the same time as the rise in widespread popularity of football in Albania. The club was initially made up of young men from Has, Lumë and Goranis from Shishtavec, who competed in sports such as athletics and wrestling along with football, which quickly became the most popular sport to follow in Kukës. The club's first ever game was played on 20 April 1930 against Internati Krumë, which ended in a 0-0 draw. On 13 July the club lost for the first time against Dibra in Peshkopi, in a game which ended 4-1 to the opposition. In August 1931 the club competed in a local tournament where they played Kallabaku (Borje), Shkëlzeni (Tropojë), Internati Krumë, and teams from the military. With the establishment of the Albanian Football Association in 1932 Shoqëria Sportive Kosova was registered under the name Sport Klub Kosova. However, they did not participate in any of the national championships that were held at the time. In 1949, following the end of World War II, the Albanian Football Association resumed its championships. In 1953 Shoqëria Sportive Kosova participated for the first time in a national competition, competing in the Albanian Third Division.


In 1958 the club was promoted to the Albanian Second Division for the first time, and they changed their name to Klubi Sportiv Përparimi at the same time. The club's first major trophy came in 1967, winning the Albanian Third Division and achieving promotion for the first time to the Albanian Second Division. They remained in the league for a decade until 1977, when they won the Second Division title, the club's biggest achievement since its formation in 1930. Despite being relegated quickly, the club once again won the Second Division in 1982 and were promoted again to Albania's second tier. Many consider the late '70s and early '80s to be the club's so-called golden era.

With the fall of Communism in Albania in 1991, the club experienced huge financial problems as thy had relied on state funding to run the club for many years. The municipality of Kukës along with local businessman began to fund the team following the end of Albania's Communism regime, but due to the lack of funds the club did not experience any success for nearly two decades after Communism.

FK Kukësi[edit]

Kukësi playing at the Zeqir Ymeri Stadium

In 2010 the club experienced a complete revamp, changing its name for a third time to Futboll Klub Kukësi. The Kukës resperesentative in the Parliament of Albania and member of the Democratic Party of Albania, Fatos Hoxha was elected as president of FK Kukësi. The club aimed to reach the Albanian Superliga for the first time in its history, investing heavily for the 2010–11 season in order to achieve promotion from the Second Division. Fatos Hoxha and the Municipality of Kukës hired Shahin Berberi as the club's manager and gave him the financial backing to make many signings in order to achieve promotion. Berberi did just that and FK Kukësi were crowned winners of the Albanian Second Division at the end of the 2010–11 season. The following season the club once again invested heavily, this time to achieve their aim of top flight football, an aim which was achieved at the end of the 2011–12 season, as FK Kukësi finished second in the table and received automatic promotion to the Albanian Superliga for the 2012–13 season.[1]

Superliga era[edit]

The club's first ever top flight game was against fellow newly promoted side Luftëtari Gjirokastër on 26 August 2012 at the Zeqir Ymeri Stadium, and it ended in a goalless draw in front of just over 2,500 spectators.[2] They remained unbeaten in the league for the opening ten games, which included a win against an away win against Albania's most decorated side KF Tirana.[3] Their unbeaten start to life in the Superliga came to an end on 17 November in a 2-0 loss to Flamurtari Vlorë.[4] They ended the season in second place behind Skënderbeu Korçë, whom they defeated 4-3 on the last day of the season.[5] FK Kukësi's season was considered a tremendous success, considering the club's humble history, which did not stop them collecting memorable wins throughout the 2012-13 campaign including a 6-1 win over Flamurtari Vlorë[6] and a 5-1 win over Shkumbini Peqin.[7] They were featured as UEFA's surprise package, as they were the only team to finish the season unbeaten at home and their second placed finish earned them a place in the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round.[8] They finished the season with a record of 15 wins, 7 draws and 4 losses, along with a points tally of 52 and a positive goal difference of 24.[9]

FK Kukësi's first European game was played on 4 July 2013 and it ended in a 1-1 draw away at Estonian side FC Flora Tallinn, with midfielder Gerhard Progni scoring a 79th minute equaliser.[10] The return leg was played at the Qemal Stafa Stadium in Tiranë and it ended in goalless draw which meant that FK Kukësi progressed to the second qualifying round of the Europa League on the away goal rule.[11] In the next round FK Kukësi met Bosnian side FK Sarajevo, whom they defeated 3-2 at the Qemal Stafa Stadium in the first leg, thanks to goals from Yll Hoxha, Lazar Popović and Igli Allmuça.[12] In the second leg played at the Asim Ferhatović Hase Stadium, the match ended goalless which meant FK Kukësi progressed to the third and final qualifying round of the competition.[13] They faced Metalurh Donetsk from Ukraine in the next round and they shocked the Ukrainians with a 2-0 win in Tiranë, courtesy of goals from Lucas Malacarne and Renato Malota.[14] FK Kukësi experienced their first European defeat in their sixth fixture at the hands of Metalurh Donetsk in the away leg of the tie, but still progressed through to the play-off round as they won 2-1 on aggregate over the two games.[15] In the play-offs they were drawn against a far larger club in the shape of Turkish side Trabzonspor, who they faced at home in the first leg which ended in a predictable 2-0 loss.[16] At the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium in the second leg FK Kukësi managed to open the scoring through Lazar Popović in the 11th minute, before conceding three times to lose 5-1 on aggregate.[17] The club's European run was widely reported both in Albania and in the region, and the players were considered heroes for overcoming their underdog status both domestically and continentally.

On 10 February 2014, following a goalless draw at home against Bylis Ballsh, the club's Turkish head coach Naci Şensoy resigned with immediate effect, citing amongst other reasons the pressure of the fans for his resignation.[18][19] However, the club contested his decision and took the case to the Albanian Football Association due to pre-paid wages amounting to €10,000 having been already been paid to Şensoy as well as his breach of his contract. Nonetheless, the club's technical director Sulejman Starova took over as the head coach immediately after Şensoy's departure.[20][21]


FK Kukësi is well supported by the local community in Kukës, led by the supporters group "Armata e Veriut" In a highly anticipated match between Kukësi in second place and league leaders Luftëtari Gjirokastër on 6 May 2012, the FK Kukësi began to throw objects onto the field, which caused the referee Lorenc Jemini to pause the match. The match was eventually resumed but the Albanian Football Association punished the club with a 6 match ban for the supporters, meaning that their next 6 home games were to be played behind closed doors. As the Luftëtari Gjirokastër game was their last at home for the 2011-12 season, the ban was transferred to the 2012-13 season in the Albanian Superliga. In the 2012-13 Albania Superliga season, in FK Kukësi last match against Albania chamipons KF Skënderbeu Korçë, the supporters of FK Kukësi (Armata e Veriut) made a brilliant performance with a totally fair play game. In that day FK Kukësi won with the result 4-3 in Zeqir Ymeri Stadium, against the Albania champions KF Skënderbeu Korçë. [22][23]

European record[edit]

In the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League season, FK Kukësi broke the record of Flamurtari Vlorë, because FK Kukësi eliminated 3 teams in UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds. In the First qualifying round, FK Kukësi eliminated Flora Tallinn. In 4 July 2013, FK Kukësi team went in Tallinn against Flora Tallinn and the match finished with the result 1–1 and in 11 July in Tirana, the match finished with the result 0–0. In the Second qualifying round, FK Kukësi eliminated FK Sarajevo. In 18 July 2013, FK Kukësi won in Tirana with the result 3–2 and in 25 July 2013 in Sarajevo, the match finished with the result 0–0. In the Third qualifying round, FK Kukësi eliminated Metalurg Donetsk. In 1 August 2013, FK Kukësi won in Tirana with the result 2–0 and in 8 August 2013 FK Kukësi lost in Donetsk with the result 1–0. In the Play-off round, FK Kukësi was eliminated by Trabzonspor. In 22 August 2013, FK Kukësi lost in Tirana with the result 0–2 and in 29 August 2013, FK Kukësi lost in Trabzon with the result 3–1.


App Pld W D L GF GA
UEFA Champions League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
UEFA Europa League 2 10 2 4 4 7 10
Total 2 10 2 4 4 7 10


Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2013–14 UEFA Europa League 1Q Estonia Flora 0–0 1–1 1–1 (a)
2Q Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo 3–2 0–0 3–2
3Q Ukraine Metalurh Donetsk 2–0 0–1 2–1
PO Turkey Trabzonspor 0–2 1–3 1–5
2014–15 UEFA Europa League 1Q Kazakhstan Kairat 0–0 0–1 0–1
  • 1Q: First qualifying round
  • 2Q: Second qualifying round
  • 3Q: Third qualifying round
  • PO: Play-off Round


World & European Rankings[edit]

UEFA club coefficient ranking[edit]

Rank Team Points
356 Luxembourg AS Jeunesse Esch 2.725
357 Northern Ireland Glentoran FC 2.725
358 Slovakia Dukla Banská Bystrica 2.700
359 Finland Turun Palloseura 2.685
360 Albania FK Kukësi 2.600
361 Hungary MTK Budapest 2.575
362 Hungary Zalaegerszegi TE 2.575
363 Republic of Macedonia FK Metalurg Skopje 2.550
364 Republic of Ireland Derry City FC 2.525


Current squad[edit]

As of 23 November 2014

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

No. Position Player
1 Albania GK Argjent Halili
2 Albania DF Dritan Smajlaj
4 Albania DF Ylli Shameti
5 Albania DF Julian Brahja
6 Albania DF Erjon Dushku
7 Kosovo FW Kushtrim Lushtaku
11 Albania FW Vilfor Hysa
12 Albania GK Ervis Koçi
13 Albania DF Rrahman Hallaçi (captain)
14 Albania MF Igli Allmuça
15 Albania MF Albi Dosti
No. Position Player
16 Albania MF Edon Hasani
19 Albania MF Hair Zeqiri
20 Albania MF Yll Hoxha
21 Albania DF Roland Peqini
22 Croatia FW Pero Pejić
23 Albania MF Besar Musolli
24 Albania DF Renato Malota
27 Brazil MF Jefferson
31 Albania GK Ibrahim Bejte
33 Serbia DF Ivan Gvozdenović
88 Serbia FW Ivan Perić

Current youth players with first-team experience[edit]

As of 23 November 2014

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

No. Position Player
1 Albania GK Jetmir Basha
7 Albania FW Ditmir Domi
12 Albania GK Armand Cengu
22 Albania DF Detjon Dreni
23 Albania DF Kedi Beshiri
No. Position Player
24 Albania DF Dorjan Ademi
27 Kosovo MF Elvis Bojaxhi
86 Albania FW Veronik Istrefaj
86 Albania DF Emigler Cenaj
88 Albania MF Albi Germizi

Top scorers by season[edit]

Season Player Goal league Player Goal overall
2012–13 Serbia Lazar Popović 16 Serbia Lazar Popović 20
2013–14 Albania Sokol Cikalleshi 17 Albania Sokol Cikalleshi 22

Coaching staff[edit]

As of 4 June 2014.[24]
Position Name
Head coach Artim Šakiri
Assistant coaches Edmond Dalipi
Efstrat Billa
Goalkeeping coach Efstrat Billa
Athletic coach Vaso Selenica
Club doctors Perli Rusi
Petro Rusi
Masseur Perli Rusi


Name Period Honours
Albania Flamur Hoxha 2010-2011 Albanian Second Division
Albania Bashkim Gjoka 2011-2012
Albania Safet Gjici 2012-


Name Period Honours
Albania Shahin Berberi 2010–12 Albanian Second Division
Albania Armando Cungu 1 July 2012 – 2 October 2013
Turkey Naci Şensoy 3 October 2013 – 10 February 2014
Albania Sulejman Starova 11 February 2014 – 31 May 2014
Albania Agim Canaj 2 June 2014 – 30 July 2014
Albania Shkëlqim Muça 30 July 2014 – 7 August 2014
Republic of Macedonia Artim Šakiri 10 August 2014 -


External links[edit]