Ervin Bytyci, the head of Minifootball Federation of Albania is speaking about their challenges for the last two years and preparations for the EMF Nations Games 2019.
– How would you review your first 2 years as an EMF Member?
– Time has passed very fast and due to the numerous activities we have participated in so far, it feels like we have always been members and part of this great family.
– Can you talk us through how you overcame some of the obstacles you faced during this time?
– The biggest challenge as been breaking the scepticism around us and explaining to everybody the difference between Minifootball and Futsal, which until we stepped in were recognized by the same name.
– How would you describe the level of Minifootball in Albania right now?
– The first Championship saw just one or two strong teams but the second one was a big surprise for all of us, not only have the number of teams increased but the level and quality of the teams have drastically improved also. There is a big interest for the upcoming Championship and teams have already started sending their requests for registration even though the Championship will only start in October.
– You finished your National Championship not so long ago, tell us about it.
– Our National Championship was a very strong and interesting one, in the end the first 3 places and the 4th, 5th and 6th place were divided by just one point. In the end, the reigning holders were crowned again as Champions, but it was a very tight race until the end.
– How much have you grown since EMF EURO 2018? Which lessons have you learnt?
– It has only been a year since Euro 2018 and that is not a long time, but at least now we know how the game works and the teams and players have started to play by the same rules that are applied in the International games. The most important lesson we got was that you cannot only count on 6-7 good players, you need to have at least two teams who can constantly change during the game without changing the level and performance of the team.
– How are your preparations for the EMF Nations Games 2019?
– It has been a difficult period as our Championship ended 2 months ago and the players were not in the best shape, besides this, it is a holiday period and we had players who had planned their holidays before our matches were announced.
– You have one of the strongest groups, what can we expect from you?
– We are in the most comfortable position as nobody expects us to win, so like at Euro 2018, our main objective is to learn, get experience, grow, and any other result is a bonus.
– Who will be the main players for Albania at the EMF Nation’s Games?
– We have 4 or 5 players from the team who represented Albania in Euro 2018 and the rest are newly selected players, so it is obvious that the reference point will be the old players but we prefer to emphasize more on the team than on the individuals. We have 14 players on the pitch but the most important one is our Coach, and he will be leading and supporting the team all the time from the touchline.
– How important are such tournaments for your players?
– Every International game is an opportunity for the players to learn and share this experience with their teams, friends and family when they get back, so we can expand the knowledge and interest in the game. It is very important for every player to be able to face new challenges and learn to be part of a group whose objective is to represent a nation and not only a team.