From Uvil Zajmi
Memorie.al / He started his adventure in sports as a speed athlete, after the physical culture teacher, Sofie Lishi, smelled in him that he would become a talented runner-sprinter in 60 and 100m. But Dali Faruk’s career would change when coach Punavia would activate him as a goalkeeper, while the legendary Zyber Xhetani would transform him into a goal-scoring midfielder. A prominent football player, very soon he would become the protagonist player, not only of “July 31”, but for the entire sports history of the Mat district. From the spectacular goals, the “chock” transfer to Lushnje with the approval of Themie Thomai, to the fame of “Dynasty” Faruku, all three together in a match at “Qemal Stafa. The reports with Jashar, the contribution of Hysen Shah, the sympathies of Boriçi, Rreli and the biography that prevented him from joining the national team. What is he doing today in the Albanian capital, where the “former idol”, the Mata legend of the 80s, who until recently was called “Delhaj” by Burrell’s fans, has been living for years, comparing him to the famous West German footballer the 80’s?
In the Spartakiad, as a goalkeeper…!
He had a very difficult childhood, in a large family, where Daliu is the second of eight children, all boys, among whom only his father and mother were in a working relationship. He plays as a goalkeeper with the sports classes of the “Pjeter Budi” school, when in the Spartakiad of pioneers that takes place in Lezhë, Punavia, and his first coach, has an injured football player and activates Daliu, as a left midfielder.
Then two years with Zyber Xhetan in the youth, he even remembers that he played in the Ajax shirt, since in Burrel, in a championship match, the team goes on the field with a similar shirt, imitating that of the Dutch club, but only in that meeting, as in the end they were collected and disappeared without leaving a trace, since someone from “above” had given an order that they should not be used anymore.
We are in the 1975-’77 season, and the Albanian Football Federation requires the forced activation of two players under the age of 18 with the first team, and Fadil Hysa takes him to the first team of “July 31”, activating him as an organizer alongside veterans Hysen Kuka, Q. Kola, Dh. Tango, L. Ballabani, L. Doda, etc. The club has also provided him with a food treatment for 100 lek, together with lunch and dinner, in the city restaurant, “Tarzani”.
With the first and last Jashari, a spectacular debut
The surprise explosion, which will open a new page in the history of the club, the city, will come in a few years. In the 1980 edition, the team secured the lead in the group, (the second category) along with the promotion to the First Category, or as it is called today, the Superior. Very soon, the stadium was built from a field with red soil (coal dust), which is accompanied by the friendly match at its inauguration: “July 31” – “Partizani” and after it the official one, the first in the championship: “July 31″ – ” Besa” 2-0, with two spectacular goals by Faruk.
This challenge has a detail about his relationship with Robert Jashar, the legendary, inimitable coach with whom an important part of the Burrela club was written. The arrival of Jashari finds the captain (who at that time received a payment of 100 lek more), on Thursday in the training session, Faruku has missed a goal, which has revolted the technician, who punishes him, taking him out of training. In the days that followed, Faruku did not appear at the gathering, but on Sunday, a few hours before the meeting with “Besa”, he was called to the Party Committee, where there was a debate, but very cleverly, the first secretary, Hysen Shahu, shut it down.
Before the match, while the coach announced the formation, Faruku was left out and in the warm-up the team came out without the captain and in the dressing room there was another argument between them. But everything will change when, just moments before the start, Jashari orders him to be in the lineup. “It was the form, the way he applied that served to bully and increase the ego of a football player” – remembers Dali Faruku.
In that match, he scored a goal, and at the end of it, Jashari approached him, hugged him, saying: “As long as I am the coach, I have no business with you anymore. You don’t need tactics, you know where you belong, I always want you in the area,” he says publicly in the presence of the team and many sports fans. He knew the skills, the type of player and the master of the bench did not make mistakes easily. Especially when the matches were important and decisive and when victory was expected and required in front of the fans.
The goals, the unforgettable one in “Qemal Stafa”
Faruku has scored about 200 goals during his career, in friendly and official matches, and even in the 1983-84 seasons, he is listed in the list of scorers with 14 goals. But the most fantastic one of his career is in the 1984-’85 season, at “Qemal Stafa”, party congress day, where “Partizani” – “31 Korriku” play on the field for the championship.
In the last minute, the score was 2-1 for the locals, when from a distance of 35 meters, Faruku suddenly hit with his left and the ball stopped in the opponent’s net, from the northern gate, stunning the whole environment “qemalstafas” and 2-2, after which, in a television interview, goalkeeper Perlat Musta would declare: “Faruku is an unpredictable player”. But, during his career, there are also two outstanding moments: the missing goal and the most beautiful one made in Burrel, which belong to a single meeting, the one against “Shkumbin” of Peqin in the Second Category.
The first half, after dribbling the last defender, then passes the goalkeeper with a “sombrero” and alone with an empty goal, hits safely from a close distance. The ball hits the crossbar and returns to midfield. The score is 0-0, a tense match, it’s the last minutes and “31 July” has the right to a corner kick. Faruku kicks the ball from the small corner, which leaves the defense but it comes to him again: in a position almost on the end line, he hits the ball at half height; the ball takes an arc and ends up on the other side of Kryemadhi, in the net.
An extraordinary goal, almost impossible to achieve. While he recorded the most famous three-goal in Durrës. The night before he was at a family birthday, then the next day he traveled to Durrës with a “Java” motorcycle with a friend. Although he did not want to play, the coach forced him to go down to the field. He was in excellent shape and he considers it the best day of his sports career, together with the three goals scored against “Lokomotiva” of Durrës, with the goalkeeper, his friend, Tur Lekbello.
He scores, without playing a single second…!
He was shot not to play even a second but to score one of the most important and rare goals in the history of Albanian football. In Burrel, a difficult match with Përmet, during the night before the challenge, there is so much pain that he cannot even stand. Doctors advise him not to be active. However, he is on the bench, the game is coming to an end at 0-0, when coach Jashari orders him to undress.
“I am not able to…”, Farku replies. “Bandage your leg and you’re ready, I’ll tell you when you get in” – explained the coach who had a typical idea in his head – Jashari. Faruku stood out as a good kicker from standard positions from the 16-meter line, as he worked systematically in this direction. He had prepared sheet metal figures and twice a week, after training, he executed over a dozen standard shots at the boundaries of the area.
For this reason, Jashari was waiting for the moment when for “July 31” one could be agreed, which has not been delayed. Penalty kick and Faruku enters the field immediately: After setting up the ball, with his right (injured leg), he hits correctly, and the ball goes over the defensive wall and 1-0. Everyone is on top of him, he faints, and they take him on a stretcher and send him to the hospital, where he stays for four days. The recovery was quick, as doctors and specialists from the Burrel hospital were engaged.
Even the Burrel prison lived football…!
The year 1981, the meeting with General Gjin Marku in the hospital was very special. Given that there was care and appreciation for injured or sick footballers and the hospital directorate reserved the best room for them. But, at the same time, one of these also served for the health treatment of the prisoners of the famous prison of Burrel, where at that time many former high-ranking officials of the PPSh, convicted as “enemies of the people” were serving their sentence. It often happened that when an injured athlete was there, prisoners would come for a medical visit.
Admitted for treatment, Faruk is told that a prisoner will come, but no communication with him is necessary. Although accompanied by the police, the newcomer, remembering him as a prisoner, asks him: “Hey, boy, what have you been doing here?” “I’m not a sportsman” – Faruku tells him. “What’s your name”? Dali Faruku – answers his question. “I’m sorry that I don’t know you, but every Sunday we listen to the broadcast of the matches on the radio and when the city explodes, we understand that a goal has been scored.” That was the conversation. They parted never to meet again, as the general, already without rank, would die there in prison after a while.
When he lost Edison, his close friend…!
Two, are the most emotional and unforgettable moments of Dali Faruk. After the meeting with “Besa” of Kavaja, 2-0, there is a tragic moment: Sul Xhetani, the well-known fan, whose heart could not cope with the extraordinary emotions of the match, suddenly passed away. But the one from 1985 has left a mark and remains the day that hit him deeply in the soul: In the month of April, his friend and close friend, footballer Edison Muça, passed away. Struck by a serious illness, Edison at a young age closed his eyes without being able to resist the illness. They were together in a team, in life and in the family. For Dali Faruk, April 1985 will remain unforgettable.
At the national level, biography is an insurmountable obstacle
Only 1.76 m tall, with exceptional individual skills, smelling, striking from any distance and position with both feet; tall, dribbling, fast, and unpredictable, with innate intuition, an admirable footballer. Liked by the coaches with the desire to have him in the team, as was the case when in 1977, the Spartakiad of the 7 main Army Corps took place in Tirana.
Starting with the Burrel Corps, Daliu scores four goals against Gjirokastra, while losing in the final 1-2 against Tirana, where Safet Berisha, Skënder Breca, etc., almost the entire “Partizan” team play. It is the tournament in which Loro Boriçi sees him and expresses the opinion of bringing him closer to “Partizani”, but his biography prevents him. The same motive in the national team: When he is at the peak of his form, coach Rreli gathers him with the representative of the “golden years”, where Perlat Musta, Ben Minga, Gust Kola, Çim Muça, etc. He trains, plays in friendlies, but does not travel abroad.
So “Dinamos”, “battle” with his father…!
During his football career, especially in the years of the First Category, Daliu has been accompanied by a constant contradiction with his father, a former wrestler, who had done his military service at the “Dinamo” Club of the capital, and therefore was a fan but also an “adversary” ” the main son, at least in the confrontations, with his former club under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The next match in the First Category, “July 31 – “Dinamo”, and Daliu was playing on the field watching his father sitting on the steps of the stadium. “31 Korriku” wins 2-1 with Petraq Savë as the protagonist, who scores first and the numbers are doubled with a typical Faruku goal. His family was always present at the stadium, especially his father, but his mother also followed him, especially at the old field, and later in Lushnje, when he was loaned to “Tractor” in the first category.
Hysen Shahu, the one who changed a city…!
In his career, even the peak with the Matian jersey, Faruku has when in Burrel, Hysen Shahu arrives, as the First Secretary of the Party Committee of the district, a passionate, humane, kind man and very fond of sports: “His arrival was a positive factor for everyone.
He organized the footballers into jobs with good pay, gave them residential apartments, and the club and the athletes had great support and protection from him, for any problem, both as a sportsman and as a family member. He built the stadium and after a year took Burrell to the First Category, which had never happened before. For everyone, he remains the man who absolutely changed the life of a city.
From Monday to Saturday, at work, family, everywhere, football was passionately discussed and the weekend game was eagerly awaited. If there is someone who gave life, work, residence and sport to an area like Mati, it is related to the contribution and dedicated only to Hysen Shah. Together with him, his successor, Nedin Hoxha, has an undeniable merit” – concludes Faruku, about the two former first secretaries of Mati district, who are still remembered today by the old fans for the help and support they gave him sports in that city.
In Lushnje, the transfer “chock” for the time!
The 1987-’88 season has an unexpected and turning point in Dali Faruk’s career, especially in the Matjan environment, when such a popular and well-known player in the area, the city and the club, leaves to play in Lushnje with “Tractor”! A rare transfer for the time, as such a mechanism for players does not yet work in Albania.
The cause was a friend of his from Lušnja, Llukan Jani, a fan, who worked as an auditor in trade in Burrel, who gave the idea and insisted on such a move. Faruku is 31 years old, while Themie Thomai is the Minister of Agriculture, while in Lushnje the First Secretary is Sul Bushati. They talked and with an “order”, his transfer was decided, from the “July 31” Club to the “Tractor” one.
In August 1987, Daliu went to Divjakë, where the team with Coach Xhavit Sefa was gathered and after they introduced him, they put the captain’s armband on his arm. He is with his family in Lushnje, they give him a house in the center, and appoint him a teacher at the “Foto Puka” school. From 1987 to 1994, in the span of seven memorable seasons, in the first three years he played as a midfielder, while the rest, as a free defender.
Together with the trainers Sefa, Mone, the staff, the doctor, the masseur and with Artan Bano, Dalipi, Malko, they created a very competitive and scary team for the time. “If I hadn’t gone to Lushnje, I would have quit football,” says Faruku. There is another detail from Lushnja: brother Xhelali also played with him in the team for one season (1992). He was only 18 years old when Daliu took him to Lushnja, and he even scored a goal in Durrës, in the match he debuted.
Xelal then became active with “Laçi”, “Besëlidje” and “Partizan”, to come in 1996, again to Lushnje, when Daliu had left and returned to Burrel. In Lushnje, “farukt”, they loved and respected him and for Faruk these are the best years of his sports career, although there is a lot of nostalgia for Burrell.
Alone among foreigners
A sports life characterized by training, with outstanding coaches and leaders from F. Hysa, P. Sina, Z. Xhetani, R. Jashari, Q. Kola, S. Dauti, Xh. Sefa, A. Mone, etc., and a spiral as in the first and second. But, his special sport, in the Burrel-Lushnje axis, is connected to a rare fact:
When he played and was a leader in Burrel, (without exaggerating at all, we can say that he had become a legend), the team consisted of new footballers, such as: Petraq Sava from Tirana, Marko Pelinxhi, Sinan Bardhi, Sh. Koni, Sh. Bushati, Pjerin Noga, Y. Shabani, F. Demneri; Durrsak E. Ikonomi, Vlonjati B. Braho, Korçari A. Tytka, etc., so he was alone in many meetings among “foreigners”. He goes to Lushnje, again alone, but in this case in a formation where everyone is from Lushnja. A career almost alone, among foreigners!
The ones that appear in “dreams”…!
Daliu does not forget Delvina, Cerrik and Lushnja. Before the meeting in Delvina, they disappeared his passport, with the condition that they would return it, but that he would not score and that Delvina would win the match. Or the slap in Cerrik, while the referee’s team goes inside, Faruk is asked by two people: “For the goal you scored, we have nothing to say, but for the ball you kicked away from the palaces, you deserve a slap – they told him, hitting him in the face And the confrontation with Lushnja in Burrel, when he was a coach leading the team from Mata. The Musketeers absolutely needed the victory, but they couldn’t get it. “It was a situation, one of the most difficult in life” – recalls Faruku.
England number 10 shirt
He played with number 10 throughout his career, from “31 Korriku” to Lushnje with “Tractor”. He had kept a jersey, the one from Burrelas, as the only memory, but one day that too will disappear. The son of a Matjan family, who moved to England in the 90s, asks his father for a “July 31” jersey, from the glorious time.
Arriving on vacation in Albania, and looking for a blouse, the only person he knew from that time was Faruku. After they met, he told them that his son Henry, now an adult, based on his father’s passion and confessions, wanted a “July 31” shirt from the 80s. Faced with this request and with a very human spirit, the only one he had was the one with number 10; he gave it to his father for the son.
“Faruku”, what a dynasty!
Farukt, a real and no less famous dynasty with a contribution to sports: Three brothers, Daliu, Xelali, Kastrioti, all footballers, headliners with “July 31”, even in one match, in 1998, in the final in “Qemal Stafa”, Burreli-Memaliaj 1-0 (Patushi goal) which secures the First Category, there are three on the field: Daliu as a player-coach, he plays only the last 12 minutes, alongside Xhelal and Kastriot, a chance considered unique, they are even invited to the RTSH studio by journalist Defrim Methasani, in one of the morning shows. On the field, the “Faruku dynasty” has been correct, in relations with coaches, referees, friends, opponents, they have rarely received punishment cards.
For years in Tirana
Dali Faruku parted with the football played in the meeting “31 Korriku” – Lushnja, 3-1, precisely on September 12, 1998, handing over the shirt to his brother, Xhelal. He left when he was 41 years old (a rare case), after a career divided into three phases: Footballer with “31 July”, then “Tractor” and player and coach with Burrell, until 2006, when he finally left . Captain, from the moment he took the ribbon from Kola to Burrel, until the moment he handed it over to Bano, after leaving Lushnja. Scorer, assist-man, all-rounder.
He has been living in Tirana for several years, together with his family and three children: Spartaku, 29, from his first marriage and two children from his second relationship, the woman he met during his stay in Lushnje: Daughter Eda, lawyer and son Alvaro, active with the ages of “Partizan”. The shirt with number 10, as he showed, he has it in England.
This was the last one, there is no other, neither “July 31″ nor Traktor” of Lushnja, not even anything personal to connect it with the glorious football years. He smokes, just like when he played, although his physique has not changed and he remains the elegant Faruk of the time when he was the main protagonist and all the ardent fans of Mata called him “Karl Delhaj”, comparing him to the famous German footballer -western, of the 80s. Memorie.al