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Opinion / Editorial

Agim Fagu, the pearl of Albanian basketball

Agim Fagu, the pearl of Albanian basketball

The greatest Albanian basketball player of the 20th century has been awarded the Meritorious Master of Albanian Sports Agim Fagu, who a few days ago reached the 75th year of his life. Agim Fagu was born on September 16, 1947 in Tirana. The father's desire to make his son a central defender (centrbeg), Agim's feet go towards the sport of football in the pioneer's palace, although his mother had enrolled him in piano and accordion courses. Besim Fagu's father came from an old tyrannical family, if not from the oldest that created this city. From the bosom of this sports family came athletes such as the great soccer player Besim Fagu and Agim Fagu, the basketball player of the national team, with his late brother Arben. and in their close relatives we have people as distinguished as football talents Mustafa Fagun, who wore the jersey of the "Partizan" team, without forgetting the volleyball player Dashamir Fagun, another Partizan champion and member of the national teams. As a teenager, he gained height and did not escape the attention of professor Zija Kodra at the "Qemal Stafa" gymnasium, who activated him with the school team. The sniffers of "Partizan" talents, masters Njazi Lleshi and Astri Greva, skillfully used the influence of father Besim as a representative of the "Partizan" team to bring him closer to the youth team. It seems that the cut for an athlete of European proportions was already felt in the first matches, where Agimi scored 33 points in the match between the youth of "Tirana" and "Partizan", which could be a Guinness record for a debutant. This rising star quickly became a model high school athlete, and the number of fans grew every day like an avalanche. At the age of 15, he became a member of the adult team and, not to be forgotten, with the jersey number 9, young people follow this number even today. With the number 10, Agimi would represent the national team and at a very young age, not even 18 years old. On December 17, 1965, the Balkaniad took place in Tirana. In the match Albania-Yugoslavia with the score 64-60. The youngest basketball player Agim Fagu was at the side of V. Shaka, R. Radojë, B. Shehu and others, he became the main factor of the victory. Dawn was called the discovery of this championship, where the strength, mobility, dynamism, and spirit of his competition stood out. In a very short time he received the title of Master of Sports in 1966 and in 1969 he received the high title of Merited Master of Sports. Agim Fagu was also selected by the European selector on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Spanish basketball in 1969 and that of the Yugoslav basketball player Radivoje Korac. William Jones, the general secretary of world basketball, has come to Tirana to watch the match between "Partizani" and "Oransoda" and he is amazed by Fagu's phenomenal game, so much so that he is excited to propose Agimi to be part of the European team for the two events. important. The politics of the time are known to have affected and broken the heart of young talent. The friendly games with the Chinese teams will bring the fatal event in the life of the basketball player Agim Fagu in 1974. The friendly tour of the Albanian team in China of the cultural revolution would also have the battle between the national flags, so the matches would be more serious and with rivalry. Dawn was targeted as the best and had to be taken out of battle in a variety of ways. From time to time the Chinese players made wild interventions against Agim and apologized with a fake smile. This hypocritical method was giving the new model of friendship. In the last intervention, when the Chinese was extending his hand to Agimi to ask for forgiveness again, the Chinese's hand remained in the air and was rewarded for the courageous action of the Albanian who said that "you took my soul" This detail about the Albanian politics of the time it was a courtesy denial to communist allies, it would not go down easily. The regime did not ask for names and values. The punishment against Fagu begins with the non-participation in three matches. The ordeal of the punishments continues when Agi would be proposed to shave him as a soldier. Furthermore, they still ask father Besim to vote against his son at the meeting of the General Council of Sports in order to remove the title of "Deserved Master of Sports". The punishment goes deeper, they remove him from the national team and remove the captain's armband from the "Partizan" team. They wanted to remove him from Tirana as an English language teacher at the Foreign Languages ??school, and move him to the north of the country. Dawn had come to the end of her nose from this attitude and would leave basketball. They force him to quit basketball after two games with Greece and China. I agree to play the match in Greece for the sake of the Albanian flag. January of 1977 comes when Albanian basketball fans leaning on the radio or televisions were receiving the unbelievable news that Agim Fagu is leaving the basketball courts. Agimi had left his beloved sport, in order not to make compromises at the expense of the motherland as imposed by the party apparatchiks. The love for the sport, which was given to him with flesh and soul like no other in 14 consecutive years, came to an end. Agimi, passionate about Adriano Celentano, whose songs inspired him in every match, continues his career with optimism in other fields. When you see Dawn on the hills of Tirana's lake, you can't help but understand that he remains a basketball player, that every time he misses him, his muscles are at work. He also taught sports to his children Alba and son Adi, born out of Agimi's love with the honorable lady Vera. Agim Fagu together with prominent names of Albanian basketball such as Xh. Kona, G. Çaçi, M. Përmeti, V. Papavangjeli, K. Kasmi, Nj. Lleshi, A. Greva, L. Shatku, K. Mushi, and K. Zaçei have left a rich mortgage with excellent results to Albanian sports, especially basketball, and broke the mentality that Albanians have no perspective to play the game of basketball. Albanian basketball played with dignity among the Balkan teams which were among the best in the world ranks, but also those of Europe. A. Fagu became the model of the Albanian basketball player and generations and generations grew up with his name. He always remained among the simple people who, at the very name of the dawn of a day full of beautiful games, filled their lives and hoped for the values ??of people like Agim Fagu, and could be equal to the world. The 75th anniversary of his birth is also celebrated by Albanian basketball fans in Albania.