Squad Update

Coach Gianni Di Biasi could find no place for teenage winger Milot Rashica who had impressed at Vitesse Arnhem in Holland this season and made his senior Albania debut in the March friendly against Luxembourg. He was included in the provisional 27-man party but dropped from the final 23 and could now opt to play for Kosovo.

There were very few other surprises in the final squad selection. Atalanta defender Berat Djimsiti was overlooked in favour of Lugano defender Frederic Veseli, defensive midfielder Ergys Kace was preferred to centre-back Amir Rrahmani while there was no place for Skenderbeu striker Hamdi Salihi, the 28-goal top scorer in the Albanian league this season.

Final squad


Name: Etrit Berisha
Caps/goals: 33/0
Club: Lazio (Ita)
Age: 27 (10.03.89)
First-choice who was born in Kosovo and has also played for Kosovo’s national team. He joined Sweden’s Kalmar in 2008 and Lazio in 2013.

Alban Hoxha
Partizani Tirana
Age 28 (23.11.87)
Captain of Partizani. Holder of an Albanian league record after going 1,084 minutes unbeaten during the 2014-15 season.

Orges Shehi
Age 38 (20.09.77)
Spent his whole career in Albania, enjoying an Indian summer by winning five titles in a row with Skenderbeu from 2011 to 2015.


Ansi Agolli
Qarabag (Aze)
Age 33 (11.10.82)
Much travelled left-back or midfielder, having played for FK Tirana and then clubs in Switzerland, Finland and Azerbaijan.

Arlind Ajeti
Frosinone (Ita)
Age 22 (25.09.93)
Played for Switzerland up to under-21 level but switched to Albania after the abandoned match against Serbia in 2014.

Naser Aliji
Basloe (Swi)
Age 22 (27.12.93)
Left-back, born in Kumanova (Macedonia) to Albanian ethnic parents. A Swiss title winner with Basle.

Lorik Cana
Nantes (Fra)
Age 32 (27.07.83)
First player from Kosovo to play for Albania. Team’s leader and most capped player. Raised in Switzerland, played in Turkey, Italy, England and France.

Elseid Hysaj
Napoli (Italy)
Age 22 (02.02.94)
Attacking right-back who is also comfortable on the left. Moved to Italy at 14 and joined Empoli’s youth set-up.

Andi Lila
Giannina (Gre)
Age 30 (12.02.86)
Utility defender who has played for Albania at all levels. Back in Greece after doomed loan spell at Italy’s Parma last year.

Mergim Mavraj
Cologne (Ger)
Age 30 (09.06.86)
Born in Germany to ethnic Albanian parents from Kosovo. Promoted with Greuther Furth, suffered injury problems at Cologne.

Frederic Veseli
Lugano (Swi)
Age 23 (20.11.92
Former Manchester City trainee who also had a spell at Manchester United before joining Ipswich Town and spending time on loan at Bury and Port Vale. Captain of Switzerland’s victorious Under-17 world championship side in 2009, he played for the Swiss at all levels up to under-21, before accepting an offer to play for Albania. He made his debut in November last year.


Amir Abrashi
Freiburg (Ger)
Age 26 (27.03.90)
Swiss-born and played for the Swiss at the 2012 Olympics before a switch to make a senior Albania debut in 2013.

Migjen Basha
Lucerne (Swi)
Age 29m (05.01.87)
Swiss-born and capped by their under-21s. Spent nine seasons in in Italy before move to Lucerne in 2015.

Ergys Kace
PAOK (Gre)
Age 22 (08.07.93)
Born in Korca (Albania), but moved to Greece at the age of three. He made his debut for the Albania senior team on June 7 2013 against Norway (a 1-1 draw).

Burim Kukeli
Zurich (Swi)
Age 32 (16.01.84)
Born in Gjakova (Kosovo), but moved to Switzerland at the age of four. Senior Albania debut against Cyprus on September 7 2012 (a 3-1 victory)

Ermir Lenjani
Rennes (Fra)
Age 26 (05.08.89)
Born in Kosovo, moved to Switzerland as a child. Spent this season on loan at Nantes.

Ledian Memushaj
Pescara (Ita)
Age 29 (07.12.86)
A key figure in Albania’s midfield. Has played his whole career in Italy since the age of 17.

Odise Roshi
Rijeka (Cro)
Age 25 (22.05.91)
Speedy winger who has revived his career in Croatia after a spell in Germany with Cologne and second-tier FSV Frankfurt.

Taulant Xhaka
Basle (Swi)
Age 25 (28.03.91)
Defensive midfielder. Kosovo-born, former Swiss under-21 cap and older brother of Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka.


Bekim Balaj
Rijeka (Cro)
Age 25 (11.01.91)
Tall and strong in the air, he has already played for clubs in Turkey, Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia.

Sokol Cikalleshi
Istambul Basaksehir (Tur)
Age 25 (27.07.90)
Favoured striker of De Biaisi, who gave him a senior debut. Has played for clubs in South Korea, Croatia and Turkey.

Shkelzen Gashi
Colorado Rapids (USA)
Age 27 (15.07.88)
Swiss footballer of the Year in 2014 and twice league top scorer with Basle. Swiss under-21 cap.

Armando Sadiku
Zurich (Swi)
Age 25 (27.05.91)
Born in Albania but now playing in Switzerland. Scored in the 3-0 win over Armenia that sealed Euro qualification