From Uvil Zajmi
Memorie.al / A little boy, high school student at “Jordan Misja” in Tirana with a big cello on his arm, suddenly at the age of 14 appears in the famous “November 17” team of the capital. “It was the coach Lym Alla himself who took me, I love that club of Met”, Luan Metani remembers today. A sporting life started with 100 km. per hour, very young, not even in the first year of high school, luck would change rapidly for him and it would not be music, which he surprisingly “abandoned”, but football. A coexistence that would be divided between art and sport.
From the cello as a lyceum student, he goes forward with the youth of “17 November” of Tirana and the polytechnic school. Talented, promising, a career that would show that his discoverers, from the first Skënder Jareci, were not wrong. Then “Skhëndija” then headliner with “November 17” of Mond Gëzdari, Agustin Kola, Tit Dibra and Ben Minga, even scorer.
When history is not made only by champions…!
History in sports has not only been made by colossuses, phenomena, great champions, but also talents, outstanding individuals, who for one reason or another, may have lacked fame, have been left in oblivion and are little remembered. Although at one point, in an episode, match or event, they have been absolute protagonists in the history of a club, a team or a nation, without being considered among its celebrities.
I always remember Qolje, the Beratas soldier who joined “Partizani”, for the goal against “November 17” on the day “the stadium collapsed”; Striker Albert Sejdari with the goal scored in the only derby he played, “Partizani”-“17 November” 1-0. Similarly, Skenderbeu’s Kîrçiçët, N. Duçka, the unforgettable goleador of “Labinot”, Përparim Kovači of “Tomorri”, Mir Hima of “Lokomotiva”, Koçi and Skuro of “Naftëtari”, Furde Rama of “Besëlidje” Lezha, Peqinas goal scorer Tan Kateshi, or even Toska e Korabi. But there are many others…!
From Metani the football player, to Metani the instrumentalist…!
He was born on 11.02.1955, born in Tirana, with a fine physique, father Met Metani, football player, well-known goalkeeper and protagonist of the 1950s-’60s, with “Puna” of the capital, “Tirana”, ” November 17″ and the National Team. Il Metani’s life would be accompanied in an environment divided between sport and art, as from Lirika’s mother, a dynasty where everyone is a musician. Four children are born, Luan Metani would be the first of four boys, but not an athlete, because “he has an ear for music”, they said…
“As a child I felt the rhythm of music and when I was seven years old, I auditioned and entered the “Jordan Misja” Artistic High School. In eight years, I had well-known pedagogues such as Ymer Skënderaj, the brothers Gjovalin and Lek Lazri, and the well-known conductor Eno Koço, who was my first professor. At first I was for the violin, but Eno, seeing my qualities, fingering technique, guided me to take up the cello. The school gave me the tool and I went to and fro every day with it on my side. I woke up early and at 8 o’clock I was in class, after class I stayed to study and came home late, tired.
In class, at the Lyceum, we were a group, Agron Xoxa pianist, S. Binjaku instrumentalist, the one who created the group “We brought folk songs together”, Gjergj Antoniun cellist, etc. I represented the Liceu in the Decades of May, the concerts, and the best musical events that took place in those years”, Metani remembers the period when he was at the Artistk Liceu in Tirana. In 1968, he finished the 8th grade and suddenly, everything would change completely…!
Skender Jareci discovered his sports career by chance…!
He started playing football quite by accident and his discoverer was the well-known coach Skënder Jareci. “Until the 8th grade, I didn’t have a passion for it, although I played well and was enrolled in the Palace of Pioneers in the football circle with coach Çoçin, as it was known. But, in the breaks between school hours, we played on the “Hand Games” fields, behind the Prime Minister’s Office. It was there that he, Jareci, had seen us.
“I will talk to your parents, come to football”: Agron Xoxen as a goalkeeper, while me as a player. “I don’t have a problem with you, I will talk to Matt, my friend”, he told me, while for you Agron, as the son of the writer Jakov Xoxa, I will have a hard time…”!
“He came home. “We will make him an athlete”, he told his father, who wanted it, while his mother was against it. They had invested with great sacrifices for me, to become an artist. In conclusion, Agron Xoxe did not quit and continued as a pianist, while the doors of football opened for me”, says Luani.
From Mozart to Beethoven, on the football field…!
This is how another page of life began for Luan Metani, “Ilin”, (as he is still called today). He breaks away from the music, the sounds of Beethoven and Mozart, and immediately starts training at the former “Vasil Shanto” field. Meanwhile, he has to start his first year of High School. The preference was the newly opened Sports Mastery.
“But the November 17 Club did not let me go, because they wanted me to play with them and not with the team “Skhëndija” of the Higher Institute of Physical Culture “Vojo Kushi” in Tirana. That’s how I was enrolled in the first year at the Polytechnic “7 November”, professional school, where Ali Mema, who was a physical education teacher, also intervened. A completely different world and unrelated to that of music. It was not easy to break away from it in a short time”, remembers Metani.
Only 14-year-old is activated in the formation, although the others were several years older than him. “I remember that coach Arbana forcibly introduced me to the youth team of ’17 November’, where I stayed for 2 years, and among others I played with Tit Dibra, Riza Icka, etc.,” recalls Ili.
Unforgettable goals, the one against “November 17” extraordinary!
He was a scorer in the golden age of Albanian scorers, from Ilir Përnaska, Dash Bajaziti, Gim Murati, Pap Kovaçi, etc. He still holds the record with 31 goals in the 1973-’74 seasons with “Skhëndija”, in the youth championship.
“Then at the high level, 5 years with “Skhendija”, 3 with “17 November” in the 1st Category, national teams, if we were to calculate with 10 goals per season, I may have scored over 100 goals in my career . Together with Tit Dibra, Mond Gëzdari, Ben Mingë, Çim Muçë, Gust Kola, we were the attacking line of these teams”, he says.
He keeps several “People’s Sport” newspapers, where, among other things, we read: “Season 1979-’80, newly arrived at the Tirana team, October 9, the beginning of the championship ‘Partizani’ – November 17, 2-3. The result was 2-2 (Murat and Gëzdari’s double), 87th minute, he scored the winning goal with a penalty. October 28, November 17-Flamurtari (Spartakiada) 1-0, Metani’s goal in the 97th.
Another one, ’17 November’-‘Naftëtari’ 2-1, goal by Metani, 17 ‘November’—Besëlidhja- 3-1, goal Metani. Season 1981, Cup, together with striker Gruda, Metani is the best scorer of the trophy with 6 goals. One edition later, 1981-82, against Besa, he scored the 200th goal of the season.
But, most of all, he remembers that at the “Dinamo” Stadium, “Shkëndia”-“17 November” 1-1, when he suddenly avoided the impassable defender, captain Perikli Dhales, on the sideline from the stands and alone ran to the southern gate, scored a spectacular goal. “I have been helped by the giants of the air game, from Gëzdari, Kola, Minga. They fought and the balls came to me”, says Metani humorously, about his former teammates, remembering with nostalgia those great names and masters of Albanian football. Memorie.al