Saturday, March 12, 2011

Down, in the dungeons of football universe, it is hard to tell who is better and who – worse. Albania inhabited the same realm as Malta – and was perceived a better footballing lot. Yet, by the rules of the game, teams from the two countries practically never met in international competitions and therefore it was impossible to judge by head-to-head results. At home, however, the drama of winning and losing was as everywhere else. The 1974-75 championship was won by Dinamo (Tirana) – their 10th title.
Apart from the logo, clearly made after the Soviet ‘mother of them all’, but rather funny reminder of former friendship by 1975, Dinamo was hardly big news: they were one of the usual champions, round record or not.
The big news were the Cup winners: Labinoti (Elbasani).
The club was founded in 1923 and got through changes of names until the Communists christened it in their fashion. Until 1975 Labinoti won precisely nothing.
The squad is unknown to me, but even if it was, nobody would recognize a single name, so it doesn’t matter at the end. The fate of the lowly is to be unknown… but Labinoti made Albanian football history. Not only they won a trophy for the first time – they also were the first club not from the Tirana-Shkoder axis to win the Cup since… 1938! This was not something unimportant, since the Communists disliked small provincial clubs to be winners. Anyway, if somebody wants to learn more, one has to look for different name today:
After the fall of Communism the club was renamed into KS Elbasani. Wait a minute… the logo says KF Elbasani and features 1913, not 1923 as founding year! The year I cannot explain, but KF stand for ‘Klub Football’ and KS for ‘Klub Sportiv’ – apparently, the football team is a branch of all-sports club. And in statistics it is KS Elbasani, not KF Elbasani… oh, never mind. To fathom the ‘deep logic’ in football is mostly hopeless exercise.