Saturday, September 12, 2009

Typical foreigner of the first half of 20th century – the Italian Amadeo Kleva settled in Bulgaria, played for Levski (Sofia) and was included in the Bulgarian national team by 1946, where he played along with his teammate Laskov.

Foreign-born players in national teams were (and are) traditionally suspect: however good, they were felt naturally lacking patriotism and were blamed for losses. There were always numerous and vocal voices insisting on only ethically pure players to be selected to represent the nation. Similar sentiments existed on club level as well, resulting in limitation of foreign players. The general rule was two foreigners allowed to play for a team in a single match – with few exceptions (Belgium, for instance) that was the dominant rule in Europe by and during the 1970s. But the market meantime shrunk: the Eastern European Iron Curtain blocked players from this region to join Western professional clubs. Eastern Europe itself, professing ‘amateur sports’, disallowed foreign players. There were exceptions, though: the already mentioned Laskov, already established Bulgarian player, went to study in Bratislava and played for the local Slovan. (He eventually married there and after finishing his sporting career moved permanently to Czechoslovakia, settling in Bratislava). In 1959 an Albanian player went to study in Bulgaria and played for the ‘students’ club Akademik (Sofia) in the Second Division. There were other similar cases, but they were hardly ever mentioned in the press and therefore are difficult to trace.
Loro Borici played for Akademik (Sofia) in 1959 Second Bulgarian Division.
Borici scores a penalty against Bulgaria in 1946. Albania won 3-1, but the striker ended in the Bulgarian Second Division…