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14.10.2016, 15:40
Kosovo hope for their historic first point
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THE ROAD TO 2020: Ahead of the start to the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 Qualification, Kosovo left back Enis Kabashi talks about dreams, challenges and “pure adrenaline”
 

Kosovo hope for their historic first point

In September 2014, the first dream of the Kosovo Handball Federation came true when the EHF Congress at Dublin granted them full membership status, enabling the country’s national teams to compete in EHF competitions.

Only one month later, the men’s team already participated in the Men’s EHF EURO 2018 Qualification, playing their first official matches against Romania and Italy.

Back court player Enis Kabashi scored 18 goals in four games and as the qualification to the EHF EURO 2020 is beckoning, he hopes these 18 goals were not his last on the European level.

Kosovo face Turkey first in a double-header on 2 and 6 November, with Estonia being the third team in the group.

The first ranked team qualifies straight away to the main qualification phase, and with 24 teams participating at the EHF EURO 2020 for the first time, the chance to be one of them has grown a lot.

“Of course it would be great to be part of this EURO, but our dream is to gain our first point and to win our first match,” says 25-year-old Kabashi.

A non-conventional move

While neither the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification nor the World Championship 2017 Qualification Europe saw Kosovo getting near to a victory, Kabashi underlines that some matches nevertheless boosted the team’s morale.

“Losing on home ground against much more experienced teams like Bosnia-Herzegovina (29:33) or Slovakia (22:26, both in the World Championship 2017 Qualification) by only four goals were good results for us. This boosted our confidence for the next challenges.”

“Playing for your national team is pure adrenaline and a great feeling. In order to be fit enough for this challenge, I train more to be in top form for the Turkey matches,” says the 1.92 metre tall left back.

Since January 2015 Enis Kabashi lives and plays handball in the Bavarian city of Landshut in southern Germany.

He had played handball in Kosovo before, even in the Challenge Cup and the EHF Cup, but the way he started playing at TG Landshut is still a non-conventional one.

Landshut’s team bus driver is also from Kosovo. His advice was to contact Kabashi who eventually was not offered a job but also a job as a programmer – and became the team’s top scorer last season in the Bavarian league.

Ready to start the mission

Apart from Turkey, Kosovo face Estonia in their qualification group and it is especially the home game on 4 January in that double-header in which Kabashi puts a lot of hope.

“I guess, on home ground we have the chance to make our dream of a first win come true. The arena will be full, and we hope for a huge support from the stands,” says Kabashi.

Already in the middle of October the national players signed by Kosovo clubs will meet for the preparation camp under new coach Taip Ramadani, an internationally experienced man who already coached the Australian national team at World Championships.

“The players who arrive from clubs abroad will join at the end of October and then our mission can start,” says Kabashi.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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