The Malta Independent 12 December 2018, Wednesday

UEFA Nations League: Challandes confident of victory but says Kosovo must be cautious

Chris Cassar Wednesday, 10 October 2018, 19:30 Last update: about 2 months ago
Kosovo coach Bernard Challandes and goalkeeper captain Samir Ujkani. Photo: Chris Cassar
Kosovo coach Bernard Challandes and goalkeeper captain Samir Ujkani. Photo: Chris Cassar

Kosovo coach Bernard Challandes said he is confident his side can beat Malta this evening, but warned that his side has to work hard and be cautious to beat Ray Farrugia’s side.

Challandes said that he watched the match at Ta’ Qali between Malta and Azerbaijan and said that Malta were the better team on the night. He said the Malta squad is very compact especially in the defensive half, and then very quick in the counter breaks.

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He said that Kosovo must be very clever and patient in tackling this match and try to change tempo and use the flanks to try and get past Malta’s defensive set-up.

Although Kosovo are new comers to the international football scene, their aim in this first edition of the UEFA Nations League is to win the group and earn promotion to League C. They are on the right track having obtained a draw in Baku and won against the Faroe Islands in the second match in Prishtina, and will surely be going all out for victory over Malta this evening.

Kosovo are managed by Swiss coach Bernard Challandes, who is also a scout for Swiss club FC Basel. In March 2018 he signed a two-year agreement with Kosovo and in that same month he made the first selection for Kosovo’s friendly matches against Madagascar and Burkina Faso.

His debut came on 24 March this year with Kosovo’s home 1-0 win over Madagascar. In his selection for the matches against Malta and Faroe Islands Challendes included mainly players who play in foreign soil, with the exception of reserve goalkeeper Visar Bekaj who plays for local side Prishtina.

Their most renowned players are Lazio’s midfielder Valon Berisha and Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashika, but there are other players who play in important leagues like Belgium, Switzerland, Turkey and The Netherlands.

Tonight’s match will be played at Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Prishtina, a stadium which has a capacity of 13,500 spectators. Tonight’s match is a sell-out with all tickets sold in a couple of hours, with Kosovo supporters queueing for hours to get a ticket for the clash against Malta.

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