June 25, 2021

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FIFA World Cup 2022 – News – Reja: Albania have to make qualification our dream

8 min read
FIFA World Cup 2022™ - News - Reja: Albania have to make qualification our dream
  • Albania is 75-12 months-outdated Edy Reja’s first nationwide-staff appointment
  • He is now aiming to take Albania to the FIFA World Cup™ for the primary time
  • Read FIFA.com’s unique interview with Reja about his distinctive problem

When Edoardo Reja sat in a dugout for the primary time, Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola have been respectively seven and eight years outdated, Jurgen Klopp was 11 and Julian Nagelsmann was not even born. Four many years on, the 75-12 months-outdated is into his twenty sixth teaching job, his motivation ranges as excessive as they have at all times been.

Prior to April 2019, and except a brief spell with Croatian aspect Hajduk Split, he had spent his whole profession teaching Italian golf equipment. Then got here a brand new problem as he took on the Albania job, his first nationwide-staff appointment. Having simply steered them to first place of their UEFA Nations League group, Reja is now dreaming of taking Albania to the FIFA World Cup™ for the primary time.

With the draw for the UEFA Zone simply across the nook, the previous Lazio, Napoli and Atalanta coach spoke with FIFA.com about his objectives on the street to Qatar 2022 and the teachings he has discovered throughout his lengthy profession. It is one he hopes to finish on a excessive and through which his ardour for the sport has by no means altered.

Didier Deschamps, coach of France, and Edoardo Reja, coach of Albania

© imago photographs

FIFA.com: You gained your UEFA Nations League group and gained promotion to League B. What did you study your staff in the course of the competitors?

Edy Reja: The Nations League was an attention-grabbing expertise. Every staff has a special method to soccer, which meant we had to adapt to the opposition on multiple event. We ready effectively for our matches and I obtained response from the staff. I like the way in which we tailored to totally different ways and I used to be impressed with the behaviour of the younger gamers, who proved their value. It was an actual pleasure as a result of I have to admit to being a bit apprehensive earlier than these video games. For the gamers born between 1999 and 2001, who don’t have a lot expertise, the worldwide scene would possibly have been a frightening prospect. Representing your nation is a giant accountability and a tricky problem, however they have been very courageous and stepped into the sneakers of the gamers who have been out of the aspect due to Covid-19 and accidents.

Was there something you didn’t like and are trying to enhance on earlier than the beginning of the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™?

I didn’t like the truth that we misplaced our focus after profitable a sport and didn’t present as a lot willpower. You can’t calm down and lose your focus at this degree as a result of you then cease giving your all, which provides even the weakest opposition the prospect to hit you. When we’re relaxed we lack the aggression we’d like to get outcomes. We obtained ourselves in hassle in opposition to Belarus, conceding a silly purpose after going 2-0 up. If we would like to develop and get higher, we have to pay extra consideration and be much more targeted.

Albania certified for UEFA EURO 2016 however failed to again that up within the qualifiers for Russia 2018 and EURO 2020. Do you assume you have a sensible probability of creating it to Qatar 2022?

We’ve proven that we’re a aggressive aspect. Our purpose is to enhance as a lot as attainable. We have to set our sights on qualification and make it our dream since you have to imagine in your aims. If this staff believes and if it follows my lead, then it could actually obtain large issues. Our path can be going to be formed by the draw, however goals can come true. If you don’t imagine that, then you may’t do nice issues.

You’ve spent the very best a part of two years in Albanian soccer now. How far can it go and what enhancements are you able to make?

Albanian soccer is rising on a regular basis and the soccer affiliation deserves credit score for the work it’s completed, particularly by way of its investments in infrastructure and in growing human {and professional} assets. I’ve been to a number of matches and the extent is nice, however ways is one space the place there’s room for enchancment. There’s so much to be completed when it comes to mindset, sport plans and health.

Edoardo Reja, coach of Atalanta (2016)

© imago photographs

You’ve spent your entire profession teaching golf equipment. What made you tackle a global job?

I’ve had an extended profession as a coach – 41 years now – and I believe I obtained every part I wished from membership soccer. I’d reached my restrict, although not when it comes to motivation and ambition. I began out with small golf equipment and step by step moved on to greater groups. I have to be sincere and say that I’ve at all times achieved the outcomes I wished. I’ve by no means failed. The time had come to say ‘stop’. I wished to coach a nationwide staff as a result of it was the final piece of my soccer puzzle. When Albania made me a suggestion I used to be solely too comfortable to settle for. I wished to know the way teaching a nationwide staff feels and the issues that include it as a result of it’s clearly not the identical factor as teaching a membership, the place the gamers are at your disposal the entire time. With a nationwide staff, you’ve solely obtained every week or ten days to practice them and also you want to have the ability to shortly assess who’s in type and who isn’t. It’s fairly stimulating work.

You’ve labored at a number of smaller golf equipment and helped them make a number of progress. Do you discover that extra of a problem than taking on a giant membership and conserving them on the high?

When I began out I wished to coach large golf equipment like Inter and Juventus. But I didn’t coach little groups. I took cost of groups who’d dropped into Serie B or who’d been actually struggling in Serie A, like Bologna, Genoa, Verona and Cagliari. They have been golf equipment of a sure normal and who have been going by way of robust occasions. I’ve achieved my objectives wherever I’ve coached. I’ve taken groups up from Serie B to Serie A 4 occasions. I made progress with Lazio and Napoli, who I took into the UEFA Cup [Europa League], which was fairly an achievement. I’ve obtained an terrible lot of delight out of it and I hope this lengthy journey ends with Albania. Why shouldn’t I take them to the World Cup or EURO 2024 at the least?

Have you had any regrets throughout your lengthy profession and have there been issues that you just’re really pleased with?

I don’t have any regrets as a result of this life has given me every part. I’ve completed a job that I’ve beloved. I performed soccer on the highest degree after which I began teaching. I’ve made a number of sacrifices however I’ve at all times beloved this job. I’m simply as keen about it as I used to be after I began. It’s a sport I’ve at all times been in love with and I’m nonetheless right here regardless of my age. I’m younger at coronary heart and I really feel robust. My greatest achievement was taking Napoli all the way in which from Serie C to Serie A and the UEFA Cup, all in three years. They have been three years in soccer paradise. The individuals there have a lot enthusiasm they usually dwell and breathe soccer. I really feel fortunate as a result of I’ve completed the job that I’ve at all times beloved and I have no regrets about something I’ve completed.

Coach of Lazio Edoardo Reja (L) and Miroslav Klose

© imago photographs

You’ve coached a whole bunch of gamers within the final 40 years. Which ones have you had a particular relationship with and have made the most important impression on you?

I can’t inform you what number of coaches and gamers I get on very well with and who nonetheless name me. It could be an extended record (laughs). I’ve coached nice gamers like Andrea Pirlo and Miroslav Klose, who performed at 4 World Cups and is the competitors’s all-time main scorer. I had a fantastic relationship with him. He was a superb, clever participant. At Napoli I labored with Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi, to title however two. How might I pick only one title after I’ve at all times obtained on effectively with so many gamers?

Your father was a wine-grower. No doubt he would say that you just’re getting higher with age, like a high quality wine. Do you get the sense that each expertise you’ve had has made you a greater coach?

If you’ve obtained base and also you get each course of proper, you then’re sure to find yourself with wine. And in the event you maintain bottle, then the older the wine the higher will probably be. I can’t say the identical factor about myself although. It’s not down to me to choose who I’m and what I’ve completed. I’ll depart others to do this, like I’ve at all times completed. My mother and father have been humble individuals they usually taught me to maintain my ft on the bottom as a result of the very best is but to come, as a result of tomorrow shall be higher than yesterday. I’ve at all times been a optimistic thinker. I’m a optimistic individual. I don’t do grudges and I at all times look ahead. I don’t like speaking in regards to the previous, though expertise is important in our job, and if I’ve obtained this far by bettering day after day it’s all due to the previous. I work each day, although. I watch matches. I discuss to different coaches and I sustain to date on health preparation. Football’s at all times evolving and also you have to sustain with improvements. If you don’t, you gained’t keep on the high. That’s what I’ve completed up to now.

You left dwelling and began your soccer odyssey 60 years in the past. Do you have an concept of the place and when it’d come to an finish?

It’s at all times been my life. My ardour will die with me as a result of I used to be born with a ball in my palms. I really like the ball. It’s been with me my entire life and it’s given me enormous satisfaction.

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