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Sport

Zef Gjoni: Veliaj should postpone Noiz's activity, it is harming Albanian amateur boxing

Zef Gjoni: Veliaj should postpone Noiz's activity, it is harming Albanian

Boxing is a sport that has many followers in Albania. In addition, many Albanians have stood out around the world with their talent, being known as real fighters in the ring and some of them have made us very proud with their achievements. But amateur boxing in Albania, despite the progress and many qualities it has had over the years, has still not been able to secure a ticket to the Olympic Games, while Albanians around the world fill the sports halls to capacity. Financial problems, infrastructural ones and of course organizational problems, have influenced Albanian boxing not to fulfill the great expectations. Meanwhile, the relations between the boxing community and the institutions still remain a problem, since the institutions have in their hands the budget of the federations and through them the national and international activities. Meanwhile, the technician of the national boxing team, Zef Gjoni, in an interview he gave to the "SOT" newspaper, drew the attention of the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, to postpone the boxing event organized by the singer Noizi at the beginning of May. , because those days the national team will participate in the "Golden Gong" that takes place in North Macedonia.

- You had planned to play all the chances for a possible qualification to the Olympics. But every time you take this thing seriously, it seems that "sticks under the wheels" are placed on you. Your last complaints were addressed to the head of the Municipality of Tirana, Mr. Veliaj, why?

- Honestly, I would not like to talk about this today, as we in sports, and especially boxing, are engaged in our work and try to do our work the best. But as a person who has been in this sport for a long time, I need to get an answer about what Noizi has to do with taking a project for professional boxing in an important institution like the Municipality of Tirana? While we are working to present ourselves as best as possible at the European Championship in Belgrade, where we leave on Monday, but also to prepare for the "Golden Gong" that will be held in North Macedonia, it seems that an institution as the Municipality has other interests. But these interests conflict with ours, it harms our objectives and I am really worried. Let's not forget that the World Cup is on June 23 in Bangkok, Thailand, an event that has qualifying value, and we have the last chance. How do we go to the World Cup if we do not perform well in the current competitions? On May 3-7, we have planned to participate in the "Golden Gong" activity in Macedonia, which this year has more than 20 participating countries. The activity would measure our level, strengthen us before going to the World Cup. We were very interested in this activity as a national team, but Noizi took the project and the Municipality did not intervene to postpone their activity. Noiz's event is scheduled for May 5, while our competitions in Macedonia are on the calendar from May 3-7. So, it's bothering us.

Zef Gjoni: Veliaj should postpone Noiz's activity, it is harming Albanian

- Let me remind you that you are the coach of Vllaznia in Shkodër, while the activity you are talking about is financed by the Municipality of Tirana. What work is bothering you, that this looks like jealousy? How could the municipality of Tirana help you, as long as you make it responsible, while you have your own boxing federation that implements the annual competitions?

- The municipality has in hand to solve this created situation. She could delay Noiz's activity for a few days, but she's not doing that. We wanted her to postpone it, since with these boxers that Noizi has planned to make his evening, with them we have planned to go to the "Golden Gong" in Macedonia. But the athletes prefer Noiz's night because there are profits and this disrupts our work for the objectives we have as a federation and as a national team. What I understand is that Veliaj does not want to postpone the activity, while we, in order for each party to fulfill its mission, have asked to postpone their activity for a few days. We have the calendar of our activities, we have planned and applied for the competition, we have our ambitions and as I said we are in the Olympic year, we are playing the last chances. So a solution is needed. On the other hand, I repeat, what does Noizi have to do with this work?

- Why do you personally insist on this and not the boxing federation?

- Unë kam 30 e kusur vjet që merrem me boksin, si trajner. Jam gjithashtu trajner i ekipit kombëtar të boksit, ndaj jam plotësisht në të drejtën time të shpreh shqetësimet që ka ky sport dhe në rastin konkret të shoh se si një institucion i rëndësishëm vendor, si Bashkia e Tiranës, adreson projekte boksi në duar këngëtarësh e ndërkohë ne të boksit amator shqiptar lypim lëmoshë nëpër institucione për grumbullime, stërvitje e pjesëmarrje ndërkombëtare. Siç thashë, më shqetëson kjo gjë pasi jam trajner i ekipit kombëtar të boksit dhe si i tillë mua më intereson që sportistët të jenë sa më në formë, që të rrisim shanset tona për kualifikimin e të paktën një sportisti në Olimpiadë. Por planet tona prishen sepse hyn Noizi, merr një projekt në bashki dhe ne na rroftë puna që bëjmë pasi nuk kemi sportistët të shkojmë në aktivitetin e planifikuar në Maqedoninë e Veriut. Pse e ngre unë shqetësimin? Sepse e ceka dhe më lart, jam trajner i Kombëtares, kam kontribut në këtë sport mbi 30 vjet dhe kam një emër aty. Federata është e komunitetit të boksit dhe bashkitë e kanë detyrim ligjor të mbështesin sportin. Por del Noizi e merr projekt në Bashki dhe sportistët s’vijnë tek unë por shkojnë në aktiviteti i Noizit, se aty është leku, e kjo ne na dëmton. Ne nuk kemi në dorë të shtyjmë aktivitetin tonë sepse e organizon një shtet tjetër, por ata e kanë në dorë ta shtyjnë. Shkova dhe ua propozova 12 majin. Më thanë mirë, por vendimin e merr kryebashkiaku Veliaj. E sa për Noizin, këngëtar, i mëshoj prapë faktit, ç’lidhje ka ai të fitojë projekt boksi? Pse Veliaj duhet të na dëmtojë ne, kur e ka në dorë dhe mjaft lehtë madje, të shtyjë aktivitetin?

Zef Gjoni: Veliaj should postpone Noiz's activity, it is harming Albanian

- A keni kontaktuar me federatën për këtë problem, apo ndonjë institucion tjetër sportiv?

- I have contacted the boxing federation, but I will also talk to the leaders of KOKSH to influence them to postpone it. Even their manager, the one from Noiz's side, told us ok, but Veliaj doesn't want it. While Veliaj does not understand that this penalizes us. As for the "Golden Gong" activity in North Macedonia, it was previously organized in November, but there were not many participating countries, while now there are many. I learned that so far there are more than 20 countries that have confirmed their participation and this number is expected to increase as there are many more days. The activity has great value for us, as it helps us to see the state of the athletes before the World Cup. Our federation has given permission to participate and we have our claims there. But the federation is not understanding the situation at present, because the matter is stuck in dispute. Therefore, I repeat, the solution is in the hands of Veliaj. The municipality of Tirana gives boxing projects to a singer, and I do not give direction to this either. But beyond that, Veliaj should postpone their activity for a few days, at least a couple of days. I am really sorry that while we work and sweat, make plans for qualification, they work to penalize us. One day I will speak about these things. It won't sit well with anyone, but I will speak the truth. Why is a project approved exactly on the dates when we participate in the "Golden Gong"? Those of Macedonia, where the president of the federation is an Albanian, have privileged us, taking away some of our expenses, but now another project is given by the offices of the Municipality in Tirana and our plans are completely ruined. They take project for professional boxing, but we as amateur boxing and as official boxing federation and boxing clubs, when will they support us? More precisely, why don't they support us? So I say, at the very least, postpone their activity.

- You said that this Monday you are leaving for Belgrade, for the European Championship. What is the Albanian team and what are your goals?

- We are going to Belgrade with 5 boxers. Among them Ani Haxhillari at 57 kg, Alban Beqiri at 71 kg, Senad Drini at 81 kg, Luiz Gjolena at 92 kg. This European will be very strong and I hope we get medals. Let's not forget that Beqiri came third in the world in Belgrade some time ago. We have prepared and I accompany the team together with coaches Sead Bushati and Gëzim Zeneli. I wish very much that we win medals!

Interviewed by: Adriatik BALLA