The new Albanian season kicks off at the weekend with KF Tirana hoping that the signing of top striker Daniel Xhafaj will give them a decisive advantage.
Having scored 20 goals for KS Teuta last season as the Durres side finished second in the table, Xhafaj has joined coach Sulejman Starova in heading for Tirana, where they are both hoping for great things. "I came here to win the title and we must win," said Xhafaj. "We have a great team with a great coach, great sponsors and great supporters."
Tirana have already grabbed their first piece of silverware of the season, coming from 2-1 down at half-time to beat Albanian Cup winners KS Besa 4-2 in the Super Cup match. Tirana's Albanian international defender Nevil Dede told uefa.com: "It was a very nice comeback and a great way to start the new season." It was also vindication for the 33-year-old's decision to stay in Tirana.
Albanian champions in 2005/06, KS Elbasani had made efforts to lure Dede away from Tirana in the summer, hoping that previous disputes between the player and Starova might help persuade the defender to make a move. However, Dede said: "I am under contract with Tirana. I am a professional player and I won't disrespect the contract that I have signed."
Elbasani can take some comfort in having secured the signing of Albania Under-21 captain Andi Lila, who has been released from his contract with Greek side Iraklis FC. They will certainly hope to challenge Tirana for their crown along with FK Partizani, Teuta, KS Dinamo Tirana and KS Vllaznia, who should start the season sharp after competing in the UEFA Intertoto Cup over the summer.
"It was a great experience for us," said coach Mirel Josa. "We played four good matches and it was like a great training exercise for our team." Training was a less joyous exercise for Vasil Bici who was appointed as KS Beselidhja coach during the summer. Only ten days into the club's pre-season training camp he resigned, with another popular coach, Stavri Nica, taking his place.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.