Kosovo granted Uefa membership: Shefki Kuqi welcomes decision

Kosovo line-up to face Haiti
Kosovo faced Haiti in their first international friendly, in 2014

Kosovo have the potential to surprise teams after being granted membership of European football's governing body.

That is the verdict of Kosovo-born former Crystal Palace and Swansea City striker Shefki Kuqi.

The 39-year-old's homeland, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, became the 55th member of Uefa earlier this week, and has applied to join world governing body Fifa.

"They are very passionate about their football," Kuqi told the BBC.

"Kosovo is a very small country but there are loads of talented players all over Europe from there."

Watford midfielder Valon Behrami, 31, and Stoke City midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, 24, were born in Kosovo but play international football for Switzerland.

BBC Sport understands there is a very good chance Fifa will give Kosovan footballers who play for other national teams the unprecedented choice of switching.

Speaking to BBC World Service's World Football show, Kuqi - who played for 11 British clubs - added: "Those players playing for Switzerland have been in World Cups and European Championships.

"It's not easy to turn your back. It's a personal view.

"Some might like to play for Kosovo and some would probably like to carry on as they are."

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