They say patience is a virtue, but chairmen in Albanian football have very little of it as another month of coaching instability demonstrated.
Former Albania coach Sulejman Demollari recently became the third coach to be fired by struggling KS Shkumbini this season, following the departures of Faruk Sejdini and Alfred Ferko. The club, currently second from bottom, have now appointed captain Gugash Magani as player coach.
Elsewhere, a late goal in a 2-1 defeat against KS Skënderbeu prompted the resignation of Perlat Sevo as coach of KS Lushnja. Rooted to the foot of the table, four points adrift of Shkumbini, Lushnja have installed former assistant coach Artan Bano as a caretaker manager.
KS Elbasani are still four points clear at the top of the table despite being held to a 1-1 draw at KS Dinamo Tirana in their most recent game. With second-placed FK Partizani losing 2-1 against KS Besa in the same round, they remain in a very strong position.
That game between Besa and Partizani proved to be a great 36th birthday gift for Besa coach Emir Shulku. Besa was a player under current Partizani coach Sulejman Starova the last time Partizani won the title in 1992/93 and relished the opportunity to get one over on his former boss.
Fourth-placed KF Tirana may yet have a say in the title race after last weekend's 1-0 win against Shkumbini, courtesy of a strike from Albania's 15-goal top scorer Hamdi Salihi, lifted them to within three points of Partizani. "It's a very important win," coach Kreanar Alimehmeti told uefa.com.
With only seven points separating the top four sides in the league, the title race is unusually open, in a league accustomed to runaway leaders. "This is the first time at this point that the title race has been so close and we are happy to still be in the lead," said Elbasani coach Ilir Daja.
Elbasani have been boosted by the return of striker Erjon Rizvanolli from Hungarian side FC Tatabánya, but have lost two other players, with defender Bledar Devolli heading to Skënderbeu while Albanian international defender Tefik Osmani has returned to his club in Ukraine, FC Metalurh Zaporizhya. Meanwhile, forward Rigels Qosa has signed for Tirana after playing in the United States with Western Mass Pioneers.
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