Sulejman Starova is back in business after being hired as the new coach of KS Besa, while elsewhere in Albania managers continue to live on their nerves.
Fired as KF Tirana coach back in September after a dream return to the capital turned sour, Starova will look to confirm his high standing in the Albanian footballing community after being hired by Kavaje-based Besa. His predecessor Silvio Dumitrescu left the club last Thursday, citing personal problems, but his differences with president Nexhat Bizhdili were common knowledge.
Besa denied Starova's KS Teuta side the Albanian Cup last season, winning the final 3-2, but he showed there were no hard feelings as he agreed to take up the reins. "Starova is the perfect fit for this team," said Bizhdili. Starova, who will turn 52 next week, added: "This is a team with very good players and we have a very good chance to take a shot at both trophies."
Meanwhile, major changes are afoot at KS Shkumbini with a 2-0 defeat at home by champions Tirana prompting coach Gugash Magani to resign amid protests from supporters. "It's a very sad day for my team," said president Xhavit Ismaili. "The coach doesn't deserve this from the fans. The players are the ones who'll suffer." Three or four first-team stars are expected to be sacked as a result.
At Tirana, new coach Astrit Hafizi seems to be restoring order. Suspended after clashes with club officials, defender Nevil Dede is back on the pitch, with the likes of Indrit Fortuzi and emerging star Jahmir Hyka shining in a new-look side. However, Dede may not be in for the long haul, saying he would "ask the board to be sold or loaned out during the winter transfer window".
The champions may have settled their differences with Dede, but other players have fallen from favour. Eldorado Merkoçi was suspended after refusing to come on as a substitute when ordered by Hafizi, while fellow striker Orjand Abazaj is in the dog house after his father made public criticisms of the coach, citing his failure to give his son more time on the pitch.
Elsewhere, KS Skënderbeu have a new coach, with Shkelqim Velo taking over from stand-in boss Renato Rrapo who had been in temporary charge following the resignation of Faruk Sejdini. Meanwhile, FK Partizani remain on top in the league, with the 4-0 win against KS Bëselidhja on 1 December showing their attacking class again after a barren spell of three draws and a defeat in November.
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