A Belgian newspaper have provided a Kosavo mock-up starting XI, including some surprisingly top players.
During 2012, former Albanian international midfielder Lorik Cana wrote a declaration to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, asking permission for the Kosovo national team to be allowed to compete in national friendlies. The declaration was then signed by other stars – including Bayern Munich playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri.
The decision was granted – and the revoked – following reported protests in Serbia. However, as of 13 January of this year, FIFA has given Kosovo permission to play national friendlies against fellow FIFA members – with the exception of representatives of former Yugoslavia.
So, Manchester United’s shining young talent, Adnan Januzaj, would be the first name on the team-sheet, but who else could be a contender for the starting XI?
One name Premier League fans may remember is former West Ham United midfielder Valon Behrami. The current Napoli star joined The Hammers from Lazio in a deal worth £5m, and sporting a bleach blond hairstyle with a slight temperament – he stood out like a sore thumb.
Other notable names on the list are Shaqiri’s Swiss teammate Granit Xhaka – a player who was once linked with a move to Manchester United, but instead signed for Borussia Monchengladbach, and former Everton linked striker Admir Mehmidi.
With talent such as Mehmidi, Xhaka, Shaqiri and Januzaj all possibly waiting for the go-ahead, is there any wonder why Kosovo are now pursuing full FIFA membership to play in major competitions?
Here is the rest of La Mesue’s Kosovan XI translated by 101 Great Goals:
GK – Samir Ujkani (Palermo)
RB – Taulent Xhaka (Basel)
CB – Lorik Cana (Lazio)
CB – Mergim Mavraj (Greuther Furth)
LB – Perparim Hetemaj (Chievo)
CM – Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach)
CM – Valon Behrami (Napoli)
RW – Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich)
AM – Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United)
LW – Valdet Rama (Valladolid)
ST – Admir Mehmedi (SC Freiburg)
Would this Kosovo side be good enough to qualify for a major tournament?
image: © jikatu