Albania hires Edoardo Reja to coach its national team

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The Albanian soccer federation hired Edoardo “Edy” Reja on Wednesday to coach the country’s national soccer team.

The 73-year-old Reja, who signed a seven-month contract, said he will lead the team until the end of European Championship qualifying in November, and “then see and decide how it proceeds.”

No other details of his contract were available.

“I am here to work 200%, to find the best and most appropriate players,” Reja said after signing his contract. “I will work with those players who give 200% on the pitch.”

Advertisement

Reja replaces compatriot Christian Panucci, who was fired last month after a home loss to Turkey.

The former midfielder last coached Atalanta until 2016 and has coached other Serie A and B clubs in Italy before.

Reja’s first match with Albania will be in June in Iceland. The team is third in Group H behind France and Turkey.

“If everything goes well, if I find myself well, then it will depend on the federation if we continue the cooperation,” Reja said. “We shall try to go to Europe’s finals. That is the primary goal. And to achieve that we need to have the best possible results in the eight decisive matches.”

Under another Italian, Gianni de Biasi, Albania played at its first major tournament at the European Championship in 2016.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.