Empowering Albanian girls through football: Reta's dream
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“I want to have the first Albanian football club for girls aged 6-13, established this year,” begins Reta, a 20-year-old student from Albania whose dream is to empower women and girls through football.

“My dream is also to have my own sports centre, with a football field, full of little girls in pink shirts and smiles on their faces. And I swear I will have a special celebration just to thank everyone who said ‘You? No, you will never make it’.”

The following article is an interview with Reta Ivziku.

Q: Define a strong woman.

I think all women are strong. I would compare them to lionesses; they feed the family, protect the king and are warriors, special in their kind.

Q: Your beginnings with football?

I grew up in a hostile environment. My father was an immigrant and I only remember him from first years of life. To not feel alone my cousins were always inviting me to watch them play football, until one day when I instinctively started kicking the ball and started playing with the boys. But it didn’t last long as I was growing up and took on a role of a traditional Albanian girl.

The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini still lives in some people’s minds and girls should simply stay at home and raise their children.

*Kanun was a set of traditional laws in Albania. Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini is a code of law which was used in the northern parts of the country.

Q: Your dream is to have a girls’ football team. How did sport change you?

I gave up on sports when I changed college and for 7 years had no contact with it. In 2014 my brother Egzon joined a football club Shkodra, and there were the first sparkles… It took me 3 years to find the courage and speak with the coaches. In May 2016 I officially started working as a team representative for SHKODRA FOOTBALL CLUB. The managers Taip and Rudi Piraniqi were the first people to support my idea of having a girls football club.

 … from a shy girl I was becoming someone with dreams and visions, and trying to bring a change for all the girls.

Q: You mentioned Albania’s culture has always been tough on girls, especially when it comes to playing sports. How are things now?

We now see a little change. Women are getting more powerful, getting a good position in the society, are being considered equal to men at work, but in sports we rarely hear any female names being mentioned.

Albanian women miss motivation, a model to follow… by not finding a model they do not have a courage to be one, are afraid of opinions and succumb to the old traditions…

When I wanted to take UEFA C course degree, it was announced that I had to wait because there were no female courses in Albania. While in the news, the Albanian Football Association is making announcements about women getting involved in sports. But if you want to have female football teams you must have female coaches first, and for that we need courses.


Reta is a 20-year-old student from Shkoder, Albania. After training from Glow Academy Leaders, she started working as a volunteer at the Ndoc Mazi elementary school. In September, she was invited by the Peace Corps to take part in training and later volunteer for the new organisation the Albanian girls scouts. She has been a representative of FC Shkodra since May 2016, a team which was invited to pay a special visit to the embassy by the US ambassador in Albania Donald Lu. She has also been selected as the first Albanian ambassador of Ball to ALL, an American NGO which gives free soccer balls to kids who never had one. She’s also starting to take lessons in football coaching.

Reta would like to give special thanks to Taip and Rudi Piraniqi, the managers of FC Shkodra, for their precious guidance and help.

Reta's goal is to establish a football team for girls aged 6-13. She is looking for help, advice and sponsorship. Any NGOs or organisations willing to help, please contact: [email protected] (Reta). 
Website: FC Shkodra

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team.]


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