Albania beat the Czech Republic, 3-0 in Euro 2024 qualifying earlier this week to continue their quite impressive qualification campaign, which sees them comfortably atop Group E with four wins from six played so far, and a four-point lead over Poland. Albania have only ever qualified for one major international tournament (Euro 2016), but they are well on course to make that two.
And they’ve managed to do so without being able to call on Armando Broja, who’s missed most of the qualifying campaign with the ACL injury that had kept him out since the start of the year. He recently made his (goal-scoring!) return from that injury for Chelsea, but it was decided that he would not feature for his national team just yet, despite getting a call-up.
Albania head coach Sylvinho (of Arsenal and Barcelona fame) confirmed the news prior to the match.
“As for Broja, I have to give bad news. He was with the team for only two days. After consulting with our doctors and Chelsea’s, he can’t make it, he won’t be ready for tomorrow.”
-Sylvinho; source: NewsSport via Google Translate
Thankfully, this sounds more precautionary than anything too serious. Broja did start both of our games prior to the break, away to Fulham then Away to Burnley five days later, but he was clearly not quite ready to feature in back-to-back games like that after ten months out. Keeping him out of national team games for now seems like a prudent thing to do indeed — especially if Nicolas Jackson’s hand operation happens to keep him out of action (contrary to expectations).