Feyenoord will face FC Drita on Thursday as it moves to the Conference League group stage. Three-time Kosovar champion finished second last season behind champions FC Pristina. Feyenoord reached the preliminary round with Montenegrin FK Decic Tuzi. It lost in two games, 2-1 (and 0-1). Feyenoord’s next European opponent was made closer by Simon Loshi (former Feyenoord players) who played for KF Feronikeli Drenas, Kosovo for the past one-and-a half years.
By Chris Meijer
It is possible that the 3,500 tickets, which represent thirty percent of all the Fadil Vokrri stadium capacity due to corona measures, will be sold out quickly for the Duel between Drita & Feyenoord. Kosovo is excited about Feyenoord’s arrival. “It is great for us as a country that a club like Feyenoord comes along, we are very proud and happy about that. Loshi tells Loshi in conversation that they can accomplish this, ” Zone football. “Feyenoord will be treated with respect. This will be different than other countries. The big Feyenoord is coming along, you know?”
Loshi, 21, was a Feyenoord youth academy player for ten years. After that, he moved to KF Feronikeli via ADO Den Haag (Kosovo) as a wing defender. The past year and a half – with the exception of a short employment contract with the Polish Resovia Rzeszów – the native Tilburger spent in the country where his roots lie. “Drita is the best club in the country here, together with FC Pristina,” says Loshi. Drita was champion of Kosovo three years in a row (in 2003 and 2018, respectively) but lost the title to Pristina, the record-holder in the league, the last year. Since Kosovo was admitted to FIFA in 2016, the two clubs have the most experience at the European stage.
Drita survived the very first qualifying round of the Champions League in 2018 – a mini-tournament with the champions of the four smallest football countries in Europe – after victories over Santa Coloma from Andorra and Lincoln Red Imps from Gibraltar, but then lost against Malmö FF the first heat of the billion-dollar ball) and F91 Dudelange (in the second heat of the Europa League). Drita’s mini-tournament ended in a dime two years later when Linfield won a regular 3-0 win in the final because of a series corona infections at the Kosovar camp. Drita was sent to a Europa League continuation, and she survived the second round against North Macedonian Sileks. Legia Warsaw then eliminated Drita.
Drita survived at most one round in this season’s tournament. Decic Tuzi (number three in Montenegro) was defeated twice: 2-1 at Pristina and 0-1 at Podgorica. During the return to Montenegro’s national stadium, Decic Tuzi had to alter his game because the stadium it uses does not comply with UEFA requirements. Trainer Ardijan Nuhiji used a 4-2-2-3-1 system. Drita was able to control her movements. From the first leg, the 2-1 lead was maintained. Decic’s best chance of winning came from a corner. “Normally, in the Kosovar league, Drita tries to make the game. Loshi predicts that they will lean back against Feyenoord.
Drita showed his attacking skills in Montenegro, however. Decic often gave the ball away to the Kosovars. With right winger Arbnor Muza (22), Astrit Fazliu (33) attacking midfielder Marko Simonovski (29) and Marko Simonovski (29) they have some talented players. Loshi has played at Feronkeli with Simonovski as well as Fazliu. Ex-Feyenoord player warns that Fazliu is one to watch out for. Fazliu and Muja are the most creative players in Drita’s team. In fact, they often find themselves in each other’s possession. Muharrem Jashari and Erjon Vucaj keep the balance in the midfield. “Muja is a super fast player. He is also extremely technical even when he’s up to speed. That is a dangerous player, who likes to appear behind the lines.”
“Last season I played with Marko Simonovski, who went to Drita. He is a very skilled striker. Loshi calls him a sniper. Although he doesn’t touch the ball as much, he does hit the ball when he gets in position.” Loshi pointed out the North Macedonian striker. Decic scored a goal, an assist, and showed he was very goal-oriented, even with the small amount of balls in the penalty box. Drita’s roster also includes Loshi’s former teammates, since Perparim Islami and Prince Balde traded for Feronkeli earlier in the summer. Balde, Islami and Perparim Islami were both still on the bench during the Conference League games. The defense consists of the attacking right back Ardian Limani, the space-vulnerable Ardian Cuculi who took the winning goal in the away game against Decic, former FC Twente test player Jamal Arago and left back Ilir Blakçori.
“Normally Feyenoord should win. Drita is the top Kitchen Champion Division. Feyenoord should prevail. It is possible to have a tough time against anyone if you underestimate it. My first thought was that Feyenoord would win. You never know. Loshi predicts a Feyenoord victory of 1-3.” Feyenoord will have a slight advantage in that the match won’t be held at the Giljan City Stadium. This is because the Giljan City Stadium is currently under renovation and does not meet UEFA standards. Drita will be moving to the Fadil Volkrri stadium in Pristina (40 km northeast of Giljan). “Almost every European match of Kosovar clubs is played there. One time, I played against Drita with Giljan supporters. That was insane. Gjilani is the only city derby at this level in Kosovo. is completely crazy, you can compare that with Red Star Belgrade – Partizan Belgrade.”
Loshi doesn’t know if he will be able to return in Kosovo in the time needed to attend the match between Drita or Feyenoord. “If only I were, eh. Imagine if I could be with Drita. Loshi says that it would be a great dream to play again against Feyenoord. A number of former teammates of Feyenoord – he played in youth together with Orkun Kökçü, Achraf El Bouchataoui, Wouter Burger, Ramon Hendriks and Lutsharel Geertruida – can expect a message these days. “I’ll report a few, yes. I’ll report a few, yes. I used to jokingly ask those boys if they would come with me to Kosovo for a holiday.” But should the Feyenoord players also ask him for advice? “No, they can fill that in themselves. They don’t need my guidance, they’re likely to play their own games.