20 March 2023 – The Kosovo National Team Head Coach, Alain Giresse at the first media conference before the first two matches of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign presented his and Kosovo’s ambition for historic qualification to the European Championship. He said the group Kosovo is included allows Kosovo to have qualification as its target, but that opponents should not be underestimated at all.

“Initially, I would like to talk about the group we have in this qualifying cycle. We are generally in a group that is not very difficult but at the same time they are teams that should not be underestimated. However, this group gives us ambitions to go to The European. Thus, I am not saying it is an easy group but it could have been a lot harder. The goal is to have a big ambition and install it in the group of players and be aware of the opportunity we have ahead of us”, Giresse stressed, adding that he will require players in each match to play with maximum commitment and ambition.

Speaking of the first opponent in these qualifications, Israel, Giresse did not want to give much detail about the strengths and weaknesses. “Israel? It’s a very good team in terms of technical side. It’s a team that plays beautiful football and always tries to build something from the beginning. So they don’t play long balls. It’s a team with players who pretty much have the same value. There are certain characteristics but I am not going to talk about them because I don’t want them to know what we know. We analyzed it’s details and I don’t want the Israelis to show their weak points. However, I can say that there are very dangerous players such as Fulham player, Manor Solomon,” Giresse said.

Giresse confirmed that Elbasan Rashani will not be in the team for these two matches due to injury, whereas Blendi Idrizi has been invited instead of Uran Bislimi.

As for the issue of Bislimi, National Team Manager, Bajram Shalta indicated that he is no longer going to be invited because even though he has previously been part of Kosovo, he has now refused the invitation through the club, with the justification that he is awaiting Switzerland’s invitation. “Kosovo is no longer an option for Uran Bislimi. He was invited three times, while twice rejecting Kosovo. He was with Kosovo last November, promoted with us, scored a goal and kissed the Kosovo emblem, thus confirming his choice. However, after receiving the invitation and confirming the flight, his club, Lugano emailed us saying that Uran does not want to burn the possibility as he is waiting for Switzerland. However, this was the last time we invited Bislimi and he is no longer an option for us,” Shala stressed.

He also spoke about the striker Mergim Berisha who has recently been invited by Germany. “We waited Mergim four years and were in constant contact. We even offered him everything that can be offered to somebody up to the details of Kosovo’s driver’s license. However, if his dream was to play for Germany, it seems to be coming true now,” Shala added.

He said that to some extent, both Mergim Berisha and Uran Bislimi and many other players are using Kosovo to pressure other football associations to invite them, adding that Kosovo does not have time to wait until they fail to be involved in other national teams of other countries.