TMW EXCLUSIVE – Albania coach Riga: “Aslani, Kumbula and Bruja need more minutes”

TMW EXCLUSIVE – Albania coach Riga: “Aslani, Kumbula and Bruja need more minutes”


Eddie Riga He has been the Technical Commissioner for Albania for more than three years. Tomorrow he will face Italy, and his penultimate outing may be at the head of the Balkans national team, because his contract expires in November, and only after Saturday’s match against Armenia will he sit around a table with the federation president to discuss his future. With appreciation and serenity. Because under his management, Albania grew and even approached the play-off stage to qualify for Qatar 2022: 18 points in Group A behind England and Poland, who won the last direct match in Albania. “We tried, – said Riga exclusively prof -. One point against Poland was enough and we conceded a goal 10 minutes from time due to a foul. It’s a shame, we did well by winning twice against Hungary, scoring 18 points. We believed it a bit, it was a particularly positive moment.”

Is there disappointment?
“The last game was, if we win we go to the play-off. And Russia wasn’t there, so we had the road laid… There is no disappointment but at a certain point we were hopeful, yeah.”

A constantly growing national team, with a large colony of Italian footballers
“There are a lot of them. There’s Djimsiti, then Kumbulla who’s a very good lad but unfortunately didn’t find much space at Roma. Ismajli is growing at Empoli, a great goalscorer. If he was a little calmer in the phase of possession. He could become an important footballer as a player.” Kabir. And then Hisaj, Bajrami and Berisha, our captain.”

And the young Aslani who finds little space at Inter
“He needs to play. To me it is selfish rhetoric, as coach of Albania: I hope he and Kumbula accept a loan in January to find more space.”

Did I mention it to Aslani and Kumbola? what are they saying?
“Yeah, I’ve told them. They’re not very happy, but what can we do? I’m under contract with two big teams. Having said that, I hope something happens, given their age they should play more.”

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Your new star playing in England: Armando Bruja of Chelsea
“He has great potential. He’s an organized player, he’s 190 cm tall, he has great technique and speed, you can’t catch him when he starts. He only has one phase, which is possession. He must improve the second phase because when he starts working. It’s over. It doesn’t help him much.” From this point of view this year he is doing a little better, but certainly the fact of playing 20 or 30 minutes at most does not help him.

In the summer there was a line for him: Atalanta, Milan and Naples are on his trail
“It’s true, Napoli wanted him above all else. Giuntoli was interested, I know he even spoke to us… But he was aiming to stay at Chelsea, a club that also renewed his contract.”

De Laurentiis may also have called to ask for information
“I’ve been talking to Giuntoli, because he’s the one who makes the transfer market. And then when I hear from him, the president never makes these speeches, he doesn’t deal with technical issues. He just wants to know if the players are fit. From a material point of view.”

What do you think of the Italian league?
“It’s amazing, with Juventus’ slow start and then Inter’s decline. The tournament says Napoli will go all the way, and they have a proper squad. Spalletti gave the team great stimuli and there were no top-class players” In the context of normal players, there are no more Koulibalys and Insignes who could have had something more from a character point of view. Even in the defensive phase they work well, once the ball is lost everyone makes themselves available to get it back. This means that the group is working.

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Napoli stronger than 91 points?
“He has something extra. He plays well and Spalletti did very well there. But he’s more than a group: he takes out one, then another, and everyone accepts the coach’s decisions. That’s essential above all in a field like Napoli. Who always tries a point of reference like Maradona He was always looking for an idol.”

Now there is Kvaratskhelia
“That’s right, but she’s starting to show up now. She’s a little bit on everyone’s lips but she’s no prima donna. And she’s not the only big acquisition. Have you watched Kim? She has a slam dunk on the pedal, and she recovers an impressive 7-8m. And then let I have an honorable mention … “

“I have to pay tribute to Lobotka. He’s a crazy footballer, he has a dynamism and technique that I don’t see in other players.”

And what competitors?
“Napoli are going so fast, and scoring those points is unbelievable. They’re running like crazy, it’s overkill. If Napoli draw twice instead of winning, they’re still within reach, but if they travel that way, who’s going to get it?”

What is the national team you expect?
“I expect Mancini to be able to give space to those who have less. Not an experimental national team, but with some innovation.”

What explanation did you give regarding Italy outside the World Cup?
“We coaches always pay a lot of attention to who got you to the top and made you get a great result, even if that player is no longer as good and not as strong as he used to be. The problem is that in the national team you don’t have time to recover. You don’t have time, every game counts. From this point of view, we should not look in the face of anyone.”

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A lot of debts of gratitude, in short
“We also saw it with Lippi in 2010, you still bet on certain players because they tell you they’re okay and you trust them, but maybe that’s not the case. I get that: it’s hard to take important players out, but you don’t make formations out of gratitude. Then it was There’s also bad luck, with all those missed penalties.”

Was it right to confirm the coach after the Palermo disaster?
“Yes, of course. I thought there could be a change, but he worked so hard by winning the European Championship with a team no one thought they could win. He created an extraordinary group, they pushed their limits in the European Championship.”

And what will be its future?
“I have a great relationship with the president of the federation, I’m calm. After these friendlies, we’ll take a few days to decide what we’re going to do and then we’ll come together to make a decision.”

What game do you expect tomorrow?
“When you play against Italy, there are reasons. There are high expectations on the part of the people, the Albanians have a lot of interest in the Italians, they see all our matches and know all the teams very well. Albania can be considered a side of ‘Italy and the match should be a celebration. I hope a good match will come and I wish Albania is doing well. I am not saying get a positive result but perform well, yeah. This means taking more steps forward. “.

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