KF Luftëtari Gjirokastër

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Luftëtari FC
Luftëtari crest
Full name Luftëtari Gjirokastër Football Club
Nickname(s) Bluzinjtë (Blue & blacks)
Short name Luftëtari
Founded 1929; 89 years ago (1929)
(as Shqiponja Gjirokastër)
Ground Gjirokastra Stadium
Capacity 8,400
Owners Grigor Tavo (75%)
Municipality of Gjirokastër (25%)
President Grigor Tavo
Coach Gentian Mezani
League Albanian Superliga
2017–18 Albanian Superliga, 3rd
Current season

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.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

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 history[edit]

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] By finishing third in the Albanian Superliga 2017–18 season, they will make its debut in the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League season.[5]

Stadium[edit]

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]

Honours[edit]

Major trophies[edit]

League

Albanian Superliga

Albanian First Division (Tier 2)

  • Winners (8): 1934, 1962–63, 1965–66, 1974–75, 1988–89, 1993–94, 1998–99, 2015–16
  • Runners-up (2): 1954, 1960

Minor trophies[edit]

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 record[edit]

As of 12 July 2018

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Agg.
2018–19 UEFA Europa League 1QR Latvia Ventspils 3–3 0−5 3–8
Notes
  • QR: Qualifying round

Current squad[edit]

As of 18 October 2017

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

No. Position Player
1 Switzerland GK Hrvoje Bukovski
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Nemanja Janičić
3 Albania DF Aurel Demo
4 Albania DF Oltion Rapa
5 Albania MF Albano Aleksi
6 Brazil DF Jackson
7 Albania MF Aldrit Oshafi
8 Albania MF Erald Hyseni
9 Albania FW Vasil Shkurtaj
10 Albania MF Eduart Rroca
11 Albania FW Romario Cekaj
12 Albania GK Shkëlzen Ruçi
No. Position Player
13 Albania DF Stivian Janku
15 Albania MF Maldin Ymeraj
16 Albania MF Behar Ramadani
17 Albania FW Sebastian Molla
18 Albania MF Lejdi Liçaj
20 Albania MF Aristotel Bellai
22 Albania DF Donaldo Acka
23 Serbia DF Ivan Jakovljević
30 Serbia MF Vladan Milosavljev
Albania DF Donald Rapo

Managers[edit]

Name Nationality Years
Bahri Ishka Albania 1970s
Hito Hitaj Albania 1980s
Dhori Kalluci Albania 1990s
Mustafa Hysi Albania 1998–1999
Faruk Sejdini Albania 1999–2000
Andrea Çulli Albania 2000–2003
Arben Kumbulla Albania 2003–2004
Mustafa Hysi Albania 2006
Ilir Spahiu Albania 2006–2007
Mustafa Hysi Albania 2007
Edi Martini Albania 2007
Andrea Çulli Albania 2007–2008
Mustafa Hysi Albania 2011
Nevil Dede Albania 2012
Edi Martini Albania 2012–2013
Arjan Bellaj Albania 2013
Petraq Bifsha Albania 2013–2014
Bledar Devolli Albania 2014–2015
Mustafa Hysi Albania 2015–2016
Gerd Haxhiu Albania 2016
Mladen Milinković Serbia 2016-2017
Daniel Fernández Uruguay 2017
Hasan Lika Albania 2017–2018
Miloš Kostić Slovenia 2018–

Presidents[edit]

Name Nationality Years
Grigor Tavo[9] Albania 1999–2001
Flamur Bime Albania 2003–2004
Flamur Bime[10] Albania 2012–2015
Zamira Rami[11] Albania 2015–2016
Grigor Tavo Albania 2016–

References[edit]