Kosovo manager Bernard Challandes says he doesn’t have enough quality in his squad at the moment, and it would be much easier if the likes of Granit Xhaka played for them instead.
Challandes described the current state of the national team in an interview with Swiss outlet 24heures.
“We are building something,” he said. “Plans already exist, but we are still at the grassroots level. I would be happy to reach the first level.
“I do not have the problem of France manager Didier Deschamps. He has to eliminate names, I need to find more! Quality exists, but not enough. I would say otherwise if I had Shaqiri, the Xhaka brothers, Behrami, and the rest. All are Kosovars.”
The Xhaka brothers had plenty of options when it came to selecting a national team. Arsenal’s Granit ended up playing for the country of his birth, Switzerland, whilst Taulant chose to play for Albania. Both could have represented Kosovo, but at the time the country hadn’t been accepted as a full member of FIFA.
When FIFA eventually accepted them, there was speculation the Arsenal man could change his allegiance. However, the 25-year-old put the rumours to bed by writing an open letter stating that his participation in Euro 2016 for Switzerland made him ineligible for any other country.
Clearly, Challandes still isn’t happy about this, and thinks Xhaka is really a Kosovan.
It’s hard to know what the player himself thinks about the situation, and I’m sure he won’t want to get any more involved publicly, as he’ll just provoke anger from one side or another. I’d be willing to bet he’s happy he’ll travel to Russia for the World Cup this summer though.