FIFA Approves First International Fixture for Kosovo


The light at the end of the tunnel

Wednesday March 5th 2014 was a landmark date as Kosovo made their debut on the world soccer stage. They welcomed their opponents Haiti to the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica.  The backdrop and storyline has implications beyond the soccer field from a symbolic standpoint; with the ongoing battle of the young Balkan country’s quest for international acceptance, both on and off the field.

The landlocked state of Kosovo declared independence in 2008 as the Republic of Kosovo on the behalf of representatives of the people of Kosovo. Its independence is recognized by 108 of 193 UN member states and the Republic of China. Kosovo is bordered by the Republic of Macedonia to the south, Albania to the west and Montenegro to the northwest.

All 17,000 tickets for the landmark match game were sold within seven hours of going on sale. Resale saw significant mark ups to their original 10-euro price tag. The game, which ended in a 0-0 draw was played in the former mining hub of Mitrovica. The stadium recently underwent renovations at a cost of $1 million.

Fielding a team

The landmark match marked the future of a dream team with some of the hottest prospects in all of Europe including the likes of Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United), Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich/Switzerland), Valon Behrami (Napoli) and Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach).

Taking all into account this is a massive victory for the region and the people of Kosovo; the triumph of adversity through the beautiful game.

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