FK Kukësi

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FK Kukësi Logo.svg
Full name Futboll Klub Kukësi
Nickname(s) Veriorët
Founded 4 March 1930; 85 years ago (1930-03-04)
as Shoqëria Sportive Kosova
Ground Zeqir Ymeri Stadium
Kukës, Albania
Ground Capacity 5,000
President Safet Gjici
Head Coach Hasan Lika
League Albanian Superliga
2014–15 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 all three 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]

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.

They began the 2013–14 season in poor form, losing their opening game to newly promoted side KS Lushnja before being comprehensively beaten 3–0 at home by Vllaznia Shkodër, leaving them in the relegation zone and second from bottom after two games played. However, they quickly bounced back to beat the reigning champions Skënderbeu Korçë 3–1, before drawing to Teuta Durrës and beating Kastrioti Krujë to lift them out of the relegation zone. They lost their following game against Partizani Tirana which resulted in the head coach Armando Cungu being replaced by Naci Şensoy,[18] who's reign at FK Kukësi began with two draws and a loss that landed the club back in the relegation zone. From week 10 however, they went on a four match winning streak which was ended by a 1–1 draw with Skënderbeu Korçë. However, the head coach Şensoy was under pressure from both the fans and the president Safet Gjici, and after winning just once in his next four league games he resigned immediately after a goalless draw at home against Bylis Ballsh.[19][20] The club's technical director Sulejman Starova took over as head coach until the end of the season, having last managed in 2010 while he was in charge of KF Tirana.[21][22] Starova began with a disappointing 2–0 loss to relegation bound Besa Kavajë, before beating Flamurtari Vlorë and KF Laçi consecutively to regain some momentum for a late title push. Hopes of winning the title dampened following a 3–1 defeat by KF Tirana in week 22, despite losing just once in their last eleven games, which saw them win seven times, to finish comfortably in second place, four points behind Skënderbeu Korçë and three points ahead of KF Laçi who finished first and third respectively. They also had a strong Albanian Cup run, as they eliminated Naftëtari Kuçovë, Apolonia Fier, Bylis Ballsh and Teuta Durrës to reach the final with Flamurtari Vlorë which they eventually lost 1–0 to an Arbër Abilaliaj goal.


FK Kukësi during a home game in the Albanian Superliga at the Zeqir Ymeri Stadium.

The club play their home games at the Zeqir Ymeri Stadium, which was previously called the Përparimi stadium until 2010. There was never a stadium on the ground where the Zeqir Ymeri stands today, as the club had previously played their games on a field as there were no ground restrictions in the lower leagues for much of the history of Albanian football. In July 2010 work began to start building the stadium, which was funded jointly by the Albanian Football Association, Kukës municipality and UEFA, who invested the €300,000 needed to begin work on the stadium. The ground was given the name Zeqir Ymeri in honour of a former footballer for the club, and the opening of the stadium was on 30 November 2010, where a friendly was played against Partizani Tirana, which FK Kukësi won 1–0.

Once the club achieved promotion to the Albanian Superliga in 2012 the stadium did not meet the requirements needed to compete in the top flight, which led to further investment on the ground, which resulted in an intensive reconstruction program during the summer of 2012 in order to get the stadium ready for the 2012–13 season. The stadium was given a seated capacity of over 5,000 spectators and all the required amenities were added in order to meet the league requirements, and the it was reopened on 1 October 2012 with a total reconstruction cost of €576,000.


Armata e Veriut
Established 2013
Type Supporters' group
Club FK Kukesi
Motto Gjithmonë në mbështetje të Kukësit
Headquarters Kukesi,  Albania
Affiliations Tifozat Kuq e Zi

The club is well supported in the local community of Kukës as well as the surrounding regions in the north-east, and the main supporters group is called the Armata e Veriut, which translates to the Army of the North. The supporters have been known for some negative behaviour, which included a top of the table clash with Luftëtari Gjirokastër on 6 May 2012 in the Albanian First Division, where the FK Kukësi fans were seen throwing object onto the field which resulted in the referee Lorenc Jemini having to pause the game. The game eventually restarted, but the club was punished by the Albanian Football Association with a six match stadium ban, meaning they had to play their next six home games behind closed doors. The club was fined a total of €27,000 for the behaviour of its supporters during their Europa League run in the summer of 2013, as they threw bottles and flares onto the field of their home games against FK Sarajevo and Metalurh Donetsk.[23][24]

FK Kukësi's main rivalries have been with small local clubs such as Pashtriku Has, which is considered the Kukës country derby; a derby which FK Kukësi has typically dominated. The club's other rivalries are with Korabi Peshkopi and Tërbuni Pukë, which are the north-east derbies. More recently however, the club has seen a rivalry grow with the Albanian Superliga's biggest clubs, which especially includes Skënderbeu Korçë whom they finished runners-up in the leaguer to in three consequeitve season; the 2012–13, 2013–14 and 2014–2015 campaigns respectively.

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. On 4 July 2013, FK Kukësi team went in Tallinn against Flora Tallinn and the match finished with the result 1–1 and on 11 July in Tirana, the match finished with the result 0–0. In the Second qualifying round, FK Kukësi eliminated FK Sarajevo. On 18 July 2013, FK Kukësi won in Tirana with the result 3–2 and on 25 July 2013 in Sarajevo, the match finished with the result 0–0. In the Third qualifying round, FK Kukësi eliminated Metalurg Donetsk. On 1 August 2013, FK Kukësi won in Tirana with the result 2–0 and on 8 August 2013 FK Kukësi lost in Donetsk with the result 1–0. In the Play-off round, FK Kukësi was eliminated by Trabzonspor. On 22 August 2013, FK Kukësi lost in Tirana with the result 0–2 and on 29 August 2013, FK Kukësi lost in Trabzon with the result 3–1.


Competition App Pld W D L GF GA
UEFA Champions League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
UEFA Europa League 3 16 4 5 7 13 17
Total 3 16 4 5 7 13 17


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
2015–16 UEFA Europa League 1Q Belarus Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino 2–0 0–0 2–0
2Q Montenegro Mladost Podgorica 0–1 4–2 4–3
3Q Poland Legia Warsaw 0–3 (awarded) 0–1 0–4
  • 1Q: First qualifying round
  • 2Q: Second qualifying round
  • 3Q: Third qualifying round
  • PO: Play-off Round


Albanian Superliga:

Albanian Second Division:

  • Winners (5): 1959, 1966–67, 1976–77, 1981–82, 2010–11

World & European Rankings[edit]

UEFA club coefficient ranking[edit]

Rank Team Points
298 Serbia FK Jagodina 4.175
299 Bulgaria PFC Botev Plovdiv 4.125
300 Denmark AGF Aarhus 4.120
301 Republic of Ireland Sligo Rovers FC 4.090
302 Albania FK Kukësi 4.075
303 Norway Stabæk Fotball 4.000
304 Scotland Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC 3.960
305 Scotland Hibernian FC 3.960
306 Serbia FK Čukarički 3.925


Current squad[edit]

As of 9 November 2015

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

No. Position Player
4 Albania DF Ylli Shameti
5 Albania DF Rexhep Memini
7 Albania DF Gledi Mici
8 Republic of Macedonia FW Izair Emini
9 Brazil FW Erick Flores
10 Brazil FW Jean Carioca
12 Albania GK Ervis Koçi
13 Albania DF Rrahman Hallaçi (captain)
16 Albania MF Edon Hasani
17 Albania MF Ansi Nika
18 Albania FW Mario Morina
20 Albania MF Fjoart Jonuzi
20 Brazil MF Birungueta
21 Albania FW Edison Qafa
No. Position Player
23 Kosovo MF Besar Musolli
24 Albania DF Renato Malota
31 Albania GK Enea Koliqi
Croatia FW Matija Dvorneković
Croatia FW Mario Mijatović
Albania FW Mergent Sulmataj
Albania MF Nertil Ferraj
Albania MF Eni Imami
Albania MF Marvin Turtulli
Albania DF Arbër Mone
Brazil FW Williams Recife ]
Albania DF Resul Kastrati
Kosovo DF Lapidar Lladrovci

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
2014–15 Croatia Pero Pejić 31 Croatia Pero Pejić 35

Coaching staff[edit]

As of 4 June 2014.[25]
Position Name
Head coach Hasan Lika
Assistant coaches Edmond Dalipi
Efstrat Billa
Goalkeeping coach Efstrat Billa
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 from Period to Honours
Albania Shahin Berberi 2010 2012 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 1 May 2015
Serbia Miodrag Radovanović 2 May 2015 30 May 2015
Albania Hasan Lika 1 June 2015

Recent seasons[edit]

Season Division Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Cup Europe
1999–00 2nd Division 6/9 16 5 1 10 18 31 16 2nd Round
2000–01 2nd Division 4/9 16 9 2 5 29 24 29 2nd Round
2001–02 2nd Division 9/13 24 9 4 11 28 39 31 1st Round
2002–03 2nd Division 6/11 20 8 3 9 19 23 27 1st Round
2003–04 2nd Division 6/10 18 7 2 9 15 21 23 1st Round
2004–05 2nd Division 7/12 22 6 4 12 27 40 22 1st Round
2005–06 2nd Division 4/11 19 10 0 9 22 24 30
2006–07 2nd Division 5/12 22 11 4 7 29 21 37 2nd Round
2007–08 2nd Division 8/11 20 7 3 10 17 26 24 1st Preliminary
2008–09 2nd Division 6/12 22 9 3 10 25 26 30
2009–10 2nd Division 11/13 24 5 7 12 19 32 22 1st Preliminary
2010–11 2nd Division 1/14 26 18 6 2 59 22 60
2011–12 1st Division 2/16 30 21 4 5 63 24 67 1st Round
2012–13 Superliga 2/14 26 15 7 4 49 25 52 Semi-final UEL Play-off
2013–14 Superliga 2/12 33 16 9 8 46 34 57 Final UEL 1st Qualifier
2014–15 Superliga 2/10 36 23 6 7 59 27 75 Final UEL 3rd Qualifier


External links[edit]