Kosovo hires Challandes as coach of national soccer team

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The Kosovo soccer federation appointed Bernard Challandes as coach of the national team on Friday.

The 66-year-old Swiss coach signed a two-year contract. No other details were available.

Challandes takes over from Albert Bunjaku, who resigned last year after a run of poor results. He will coach his first matches later this month in friendlies against Madagascar and Burkina Faso.

Challandes, who had been coaching Swiss club Basel, previously was in charge of Armenia’s national team and other Swiss teams.

Federation president Fadil Vokrri said they had chosen Challandes “taking into account that many of our players take part in the Swiss championship and he knows them because he has worked with younger generations, too.”

Challandes also has coached Switzerland’s under-21 team.

Many people from Kosovo have migrated to Switzerland in recent years, and many players of Kosovo Albanian origin play with Switzerland, Kosovo and Albania.

“The team is already formed but I want to create a family,” Challandes said. “Kosovo players are good dribblers, have good technique and are good runners.”

Kosovo was accepted by UEFA and FIFA last year, and fast-tracked into World Cup qualifying.

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