History of football in the district of Lezha
The birth of football in the town of Lezha
The football game in the Lezha district has its origins in the second decade of the twentieth century.
Originally the town of Lezha football was played among the youth since 1916, when an Austrian colonel called Hill gave them two leather soccer balls completed with the inner bladder of cattle. Later,according to an article in the newspaper "Albanian Sport" in 1937, that bears the date 13 November is stated: "the boys of Lezha meet in small groups in order to create a great and complete society". And the article continues: "the boys of Lezha despite interference began to realize their goals and formed an association of 14 people." This society at that time was trained-according to this same article - by Ahmet Cafi and Fadil Dani.
The first football field was built below Sheher in the area of the Gryke Zeze.
These young people were separated into two teams of 7 people. At that time began the contacts with young shkodrans who influenced the development of the game of football, as Lezha and Shkodra had marital kinship between them. So, the sports society continued its efforts for the development of the game of football, until 1918, where the town of Lezha, as throughout the country, became the arena of the First World War.Later, efforts to reorganize the football society continued until 1929, but without success. In 1930 the government of Zog, with a decree dated 06 June 1930 establishing the Albanian Football Federation and allowed the established of societies in the cities. That same year it was decided to start the first football championship. So in 1930 was set in the town of Lezha the society and football team with the name "Bardhyli i Leshit". In this year was held the first championship match in the Albanian city of Durres, between "Teuta" of Durres and "Bardhyli" of Lezha. This inaugural match was won by "Teuta" 7-1. It should be noted that to watch this match have traveled from Lezha hundreds of people, on foot, bicycles and cars, who were received with joy from the fans of Durres.
The second game "Bardhyli" made with "Erzen" of Shijak in Shijak and lost with 4-0 score, while in the return match with "Erzeni" Lezha won with 5-1 score. This was the first official match held in the town of Clarendon.
According to Albanian Sport newspaper dated 13 November 1937 "Shijak team was met with an unprecedented joy.
People of Lezha for the first time see its boys playing football". The first deep score the team "Bardhyli" of Lezha had in Lezha against "Shkumbini" which was won 11-0.
The matches in Lezha were played in the field of Gryke Zeze.
The football during the years 1930-1935 was concentrated only in big cities,and only the tournament of first category.
The Team of Lezha was composed of trades men and workers,who were unable to afford the costs for training, travel, etc..
But the desire and passion kept up the morale of the company and the team, to have results of Lezha’s football. Members of the society "Bardhyli" gathered regularly a certain amount of money in favor of of culture and sport that were kept very carefully by Secretary and Treasurer Hamza Rama.
The first members of the "Bardhyli" society have been:Qamil Golemi (President), Hamza Rama (secretary), and the members Ahmet Cafi, Fadil Dani, Hyse Gasoli, Maksut Bajraktari, Hysen Dani,Hamza Resuli, Refik Resuli, Shaqir Dibra, Hysni Smajli, Abdulla Sherri, Hamdi Sherri, Gjele Golemi, Rifat Dani, Muho Shema, Dani i Dijes, Jonuz Lishi, Adem Lishi, Imer Hoti, Shaqir Hoti, Sule Reçi, Riza Reçi, Muho Reçi, Shaban Reçi, Preng Kçira, Luigj Shala, Halit Laci, Cin Nika etc.
The society had in total 62 members.
Given that in the 1 division(category) were first organized the teams of the major cities, the team "Bardhyli" of Lezha was organized in the second division matches. Thus, on 11 June 1936 began the championship where Lezha took part in the group "A" with the teams "Congress" of Lushnja "Tomorri" of Berat, the "Freedom Nest" of Kruja. Second Division had three groups. At the end of this tournament "Bardhyli" (Lezha) ranked first in the group "A". The final matches were played in Tirana from 26 until 28 July 1936, between the winners of the three groups to determine the winner of the second division, which next year would be playing in the first division. To Tirana the team of "Bardhyli" was accompanied by hundreds of fans, who traveled (according to the press of the time) with cars, bicycle and horse carts.
On July 26 "Bardhyli" won with "Shkumbini" of Peqin with the score 2-0 and on July 27 with "Alexander the Great" of Permet with the score 7-2, thus becaming the champion of the second division, and together with "Alexander the Great" of Permet won the right to play in first division (category).
The football field was newly built north of the national road, west of road to Kallmet and south of the cinema of Lezha.
On 24 April 1937, they cast the lots for the first division, where the "Bardhyli" of Lezha would face the teams according to this order: first match "Tomorri" of Berat, then "Scanderbeg" of Korca, "Dragoni" of Pogradec, "Vllaznia" of Shkodra "Besa" of Kavaja, "Teuta" of Durres, "Bashkimi" of Elbasan, sportklub "Tirana" and "Ismail Qemali" of Vlora. In the 1937 championship the team of "Bardhyli" played with this lineup: Goalkeeper Halit Laçaj, and then Q.Laçaj, C.Jukniçi, G. Ndoja, T.Barbullushi, M.Xhurxhi, T.Zagora, P.Kçira, A.Paçrami, Z. Shala, M.Dalipi and A. Sherri, coach Preng Kçira.
At the end of the championship (after many delays due to bad weather) in March 1938, the team "Bardhyli" was ranked in sixth place, leaving behind, "Teuten", "Ismail Qemali", "Dragoni" and "Tomorri". The Championship of 1938 was not held mainly for economic reasons. On 1939 (April 7) the country was occupied by fascist Italy. So football activities resumed after the liberation of the country, in 1945.
Football development in the period 1945-2005.
In June 1945, after the liberation of the country, the football team of Lezha was formed with a new name "Liria (Freedom)", who se first match was held on July 2, 1945 with "Vllaznia(Brotherhood)" of Shkodra, in Lezha in the field where were developed the games before the war.
In the years 1947-1948 "Liria" of Lezha has developed games based on region, and had regular exercise. In 1949 the football team began re-organized for a more dignified representation. From 27 March to 24 April was organized the local national championship, where Lezha team won the first place in the group V. In this activity "Liria" activated these players: Mileta, Ferketa, Abdulla Rrapushi, Ndrek, Shukja, Tonin Kraja, Braho Shpuza, Shuaip Kuci, Hafizi, Ali Pacrami. Kraja was superintendent of sports. On 22 May 1949 began anational championship of second category. Lezha participates in group "III", 13 groups set up across the country. At the end of this tournament Lezha team climbed back into the first category soccer in 1950,and the new name of the team was "Puna (Work)". Activities for Lezha’s football team during 1950 were very satisfactory. This, as stated in the "Popular Sport", is dedicated to the leaders and team players of "Puna" of Lezha.
During this championship were activated these players: as goalkeepers
Mihal Shkodra, Latif Alibali and Rauf Kruja.
In defense sector
Shkreli,Braho,Shpuza and Shuaip Kuçi (captain).
In midfield were activated
Halluni, Gjeluci and Hafizi.
Rauf H. Rama, Hajri Dani (Ceni), Zudi Hoxha, Bajram Mlika, Ali Rama, Asim Laçaj,and others as Marash Loshi, Rasim Muzhani and Bardh Hoxha. In 1951 the team "Puna" falls into the second category.
On March 11 starts the tournament of second category. Even in 1952 the team remains in the second category. The Championship began on 20 January and ended on March 9 of this year, while "Puna" took part in group "B", occupying the 7th place. In 1953 was the weakest for the team of Lezha since its creation. 12 games, 12 losses, scoring just 3 goals and suffering 42 goals, it was ranked in last place with 0 points. Even in the years 1954, 1955
Clarendon team continued not to justify himself,appearing weak and being ranked in ninth place respectively (1954) and eighth (1955). Thus it was necessary to restart again from the very begining. In 1956 improved the situation of the team with the best games, and at the end of this tournament, which was held in the collection system, was ranked in third place.
Also in 1957 the results of Lezha team were in the same level. According to the newspaper "National Sport" of that time, the team of Lezha, with the new name "Fitorja (Victory)" had some distinguished soccer players: Ruzhdi Litja, Shyqyri Gruda, Sadria, Rauf Rama, Esheref Rama, Eqerem Ceni(Dani). Even this championship was held in the collection system, and at the end of it "Victory" was ranked in fourth place. In 1958, which began on 6 April, also in the second category, at the end of the championship "Victory" of Lezha was ranked in sixth place.
So Lezha’s team went on to play football in the second category until 1961. In the championship of this year the team fell in the third category. In 1962 Lezha was champion of third category and climbs back into the second category. In the 1962-1963 football season Lezha is ranked eighth. From 1963 until 1967 the team "Fitorja" plays in the second category.
In the 1967-1968 edition Lezha’s team name changes again from "Fitorja" in "Beselidhja (the League of Lezha)".
The 1969-1970 edition of the team "Beselidhja" greatly improves the quality of the game by developing some beautiful games, and at the end of this edition football was ranked in second place going up in the first category for the next edition.
During this year were distinguished as the best players Nikolin Lorenci, Sule Balla, Hysni Skenderi (Capiten), Prodan Rrokaj, Shaqir Xhabiri, Myzafer Mani,Gjergj Voka etc.. However "Beselidhja" stayed only one year in the first category (1970-1971) as at the end of this edition was listed in 13th place, and went down again in the second category.
We note that in 1971 Lezha changed theCommittee of Gymnastics managerial staff and took measures to meet the expenses for food treatment of footballers and activating new talented elements as Mehdi Pellumbi, Naim Kraja, Esat Egerçi and Gjovalin Goga, in order toto occupy the first place in the second category. With coach Isuf Pelingu and assistant Skender Laci, "Beselidhja" played a beautiful game, winning 17 games, equaled 6 and losing only one match. Collecting 40 points, with a record number of goals 59 and suffered 11 goals, and together with "Apollonia" of Fieri "Beselidhja" went up in the first category. The team achieved the target under the guidance of the Committee of Gymnastics Mr. Anton Vane and coaches Isuf Pelingi, Skender Laci, Ndue Cukaj, as well as the team Commissioner mrs.Hyda Osmani.
Were distinguished the players Ahmet Meta, Naim Kraja, Nikolin Lorenci (kapiten), Myzafer Mani, Shaqir Xhabiri, Ferdinand Kola, Sokol Pelingu, Mehdi Pellumbi, Gjovalin Gega, Hajrullah Haka, Vasil Bici, Paulin Deda, Selman Cukali, Myzafer Dibra, Nazim Qeraj, Dashamir Zajmi, Artan Turtulli, Fatos Bekteshi, Nikoll Paloka, Besnik Bare, and Skender Abdyli.
In the 27th national championship of the first category (1972-1973) Lezha’s team ranked 12 with 20 points. In 1973-1974 edition the technical balance was: 6 wins, 10 draws, 10 losses, 22 points collected, scored 12 goals and suffered 23. In this edition "Beselidhja" participates in Republic Cup and disqualifies the teams, "Tractor" and "Naftetari" being introduced into the eight best teams. In the 28th championship were activated the following players:
Gezim Hasku(goalkeeper),Skender Abdyli, Besnik Bara, Zamir Ago etc..
In the 29th national championships (1974-1975) under the direction of coach Isuf Pelingu and assistants Lek Miraj the team began preparations in July on the beach. In August "Beselidhja" held a friendly match in Prishtina. In this unforgettable match were activated for "Beselishja": Goalkeeper Gezim Hasku, Nikolin Lorenci(Captain),Paulin Deda, Ferdinand Kola, Hajrullah Haka, Gjergj Voka, Selman Cukali, Myfit Dibra, Mehdi Pellumbi, Bashkim Tufa, Bujar Lubani, Shaqir Xhabiri, Skender Abdyli, Besnik Baraj, Sokol Pelingu, Eduard Kraja, Gjovalin Gega, Avenir Danaj and great Fehmi Rama. In 1975, for health reasons, coach Isuf Pelingu withdrew from the tournament, and in his place the Football Federation appointed Lin Shllaku(former player of "Partizan", Distinguished Master of Sports).
This was a poor season for "Beselidhja" and in these conditions the team went down in the second category. In years 1975-1976-1977-1978 the team of "Beslidhja" played in the second category. So in 1977-1978 edition the team was declared champion of the second category with 24 points thus going up in the first category. At this period the chairman of the Committee of Gymnastics was Lek Miraj, who played an important role in this regard.In 1978-1979, 33d national championships of the first category, which coincides with the 35th anniversary of the liberation of the country,"Beslidhja" became the protagonist of the tournament. 35th Championship of the first category (1980-1981) found the "Beslidhja" among the best teams.
In August, the team under the direction of trainers Isuf Pelingu and Qemal Veseli developed the preparatory phase in Razem.
The first match "Beselidhja" won the "Vllaznia" 3-0, so did in other matches where it was presented very well by winning against the "Besa", "Locomotive", "Flamurtari", "Naftetari", "Tractor "etc.. In the 37th national championship of the first category (1982-1983) "Beselidhja" begins with a new staff, with Nikolin Lorenci as coach and assistant Gjergj Voka, but this year, after three editions in the first category, "Beselidhja" went down in the second category.
In the 1983-1984 edition "Beselidhja" changes its management staff to coach Anastas Buneci and assistant Qemal Veseli. This year has highlighted the good work done with young people led by Nikolin Lorenci, Ritvan Kulli and Sokol Pelingu and pioneers led by Berhan Golemi. The adult team collected 39 points and went up again in the first category. For the 1984-1985 season of new sports, the exercise started at the beach and near Vermosh, with the aim to the best possible presentation on the first category. Since 1945 until then(1985) Lezha’s football team played 10 years in the first category, becoming a protagonist for the beautiful game. During these years have contributed more quality players as Sule Balla, Nikolin Lorenci, Kol Loshi, Rauf Rama, Eqerem Dani, Qemal Veseli, Aziz Golemi, Ahmet Kraja, Bahri Dani, Fehmi Rama, Paulin Deda, Gezim Hasku, Vasil Bici,and Gjergj Voka etc...
Training in the new season started with the new coach Vasil Bici and quality players like Hasku, Gega, Deda, Kraja, Filipi, Z.Doda, Zhejani, Pikalaci, Sokoli, Loshi, Gruda e Zamir Ago. At the end of season "Beselidhja" collected 24 points thus remaining in the first category. The new 1985-1986 season of the first category, with 19 points went down in the second category.
In 1986-1987 season was champion of second category thus passing in the first category for four consecutive editions (1987-1988, 1988-1989 , 1989-1990 (ranked in sixth place) and 1990-1991.
The start of the nineties mark the start of crisis for the football in Lezha. There are investments made but the results are not the ones expected. There are only three seasons in the Superliga in the years ’93,’94, ’95.
In first decade of the nw century the Lezha’s team marks four participations in the Superiga in the seasons 2000-2001, 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and 2007-2008. In the season 2007-2008, Besëlidhja is second last and so falls down to first category.