Kosovo - April 02, 2021 19:00Kosovo ready for Zeist challengeBeni Simitçiu's roster to face Netherlandsby Luca Ranocchiari - editor

Cover picture courtesy: Klan Kosova TV

A new adventure for an experienced and passionate "futsal man" like Arben "Beni" Simitçiu definitely is. As a natural step in his career (matched to the historical Czech club Benago, before moving to Sparta Praha, his current club in the 1. FUTSAL liga) now is time to lead "his" Kosovo towards great expectations and results. An entertaining and competitive league is providing an interesting group of players who will start their path with the new coach through a prestigious double challenge in the UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 host country Netherlands. We have to remind that those are the first games for Kosovo in 2021, after the three challenges in Tbilisi in 2020, when the team (at that time leaded by former guide Ramadan Cimili) could not qualify for the following stage of the 2022 EURO Qualifiers (win vs Austria, defeats vs Germany and hosts Georgia).
Both games will be played in the KNVB Campus based in Zeist on April 5th and 6th, and the futsal community has the chance to enjoy the show on the KNVB Youtube Channel.
We've talked to coach Simitçiu while Kosovo is working since yesterday in Prishtina to prepare for the Netherlands journey. Also, below have a look at the official roster selected for the games in Zeist.

You're starting this new project, along with being Sparta's coach in the Czech league. Which are your feelings and ambitions as new head coach of Kosovo?
How can be feelings, other than grateful, special and emotional. First I have to thank Sparta Prague for understanding and letting me achieve my dream work coaching my motherland team. Also I’m obviously thankful to FFK (Kosovan Football Federation) starting from president and including all federation staff as well to all other people who wanted me in this position for a long time. It's a big honor for me: I’ll do my best to bring Kosovo somewhere where all we’re dreaming.
My ambitions? Who knows me know that were always big and same will be this time. I came for big changes and I think that from the first day I did them. Big planes mean big risk, sacrifice and courage and the name Beni Simitçi I think fulfill all of them

How do you rate the level of futsal in Kosovo? We know about a good level of the league (with great fans attendance before Covid) and quite good clubs. What do you think about?
Kosovan futsal league standard is something else in reality and something else in UEFA standings. I agree what you said, the league is very interesting with plenty of talented players, with good skills on situations one vs one. Also, club owners are doing their best to improve their teams and without Covid we would enjoy sold out venues with enthusiast fans and special atmosphere during the games. Futsal is very popular in Kosovo, same as happens in all countries of former Yugoslavia and I’m proud of this.

How far do you think Kosovo can go? Which are the main characteristics of the team and what are the plans for the next future (friendlies like the ones you're going to play vs Netherlands, training stages, what else?)
First of all, I hope that we will have also luck as a most important part of success in sport. I know that very tough and hard work is waiting for me but as I mentioned before my futsal life is like that. First with Benago till I bring it on the top, then the record season in champions league with Feniks (Kosovan club) , later with Sparta from "zero to hero" by winning league and cup and also offering very good performances in UEFA Futsal Champions League reaching the Elite Round.

Now the same task is waiting for me, I need to prepare my guys with much better control of ball, with more transitions during game, using system 3-1 and 4-0 and giving them freedom in last part of when it will come to finalizing action. All players are very good technically but we need to be better in tactical way, responsibility in defense and playing as a team, as one unit

Kosovan Futsal National Team - Players List

Alfred Prenqi (FC Liburn)
Arbnor Krasniqi (Mabetex FC Prishtina)

Field Players
Ramadan Alaj (FC Liburn)
Jeton Rukovci (Mabetex FC Prishtina)
Melos Kelmendi (Mabetex FC Prishtina)
Mërgim Dervishaj (Mabetex FC Prishtina)
Drilon Maxharraj (FC Liburn)
Durim Qorri (FC Prishtina 01)
Getard Hyseni (FC Prishtina 01)
Bardh Kelmendi (FC Prishtina 01)
Fatlum Pishtani (Mabetex FC Prishtina)
Ylli Mazreku (FC Peja Futsal)
Driton Nishori (FC Liqeni)
Dijar Deliu (FC Drenica)

Head Coach: Arben "Beni" Simitçiu
Assistant Coach: Agon Ramadani
Team Manager: Arben Zhjeqi

Mabetex FC Prishtina's captain Jeton Rukovci talks to Klan Kosova TV (Photo courtesy: Klan Kosova TV)

Kosovo National team at work (Photo courtesy: Klan Kosova TV)

Netherlands vs Kosovo games are coming! (Image courtesy: KNVB)

Beni Simitçiu, new coach of Kosovo (Image courtesy: FFK)

Beni Simitçiu appointed at the end of January as new head coach of Kosovo (Image courtesy: FFK)

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