Elvisi Dusha in National team action

Elvisi Dusha in National team action

The Plymouth City Patriots captain and head guard Elvisi Dusha was in action over the weekend, having been called up for international duty for his native country, Albania.

The tough task of toppling Armenia, a team that is one of the favourites amongst the so-called “Small Countries” having previously won the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries twice, including as early as 2022, a competition Albania is also familiar with.

The Albanian National side, with Dusha a key figure, headed to Armenia for the highly anticipated fixture early Sunday afternoon. Dusha was selected in the starting lineup and proudly wearing the bright red kit of his national team, complete with his customary and now synonymous number twelve, took control of his teams every offensive move spearheading each build up.

Dusha, playing the role of half court general, played thirty eight and a half minutes, the most of anyone on his team and proved to be invaluable as Albania battled against their opposition, managing to keep the game close throughout. Infact, Albania had an early lead as the game headed towards the half time break, thanks impart, to three 3-pointers and a stylish layup from the Patriots captain.

In the second half Dusha continued to conduct the tempo for his Albanian team, as they constantly pushed their opponents play after play. The Armenian crowd was deafening however, and managed to spur the home team on. In the last five minutes Armenia stretched the game to a ten point lead and looked to take full control of the fixture. Albania would not go quietly into the night and led by Dusha, they clawed their way back, trailing by just 2-points, thanks to exceptional ball movement all initiated by the Patriots captain. As the clock ticked down, Dusha added another layup after a drive to the basket, but it would be too late. Armenia hit a pair of free throws late in the game and held on for the 84-79 win.

“Representing my country is always an honour,” started Dusha, post game. He continued, “Travelling the world & playing against the best players in their respective countries is always a stage every player should want to play on. I’ve been fortunate to be able to represent Albania for 7 years now.”

Dusha went on to evaluate the matchup, saying “Tonight’s game was a tough battle with a few costly plays down the stretch, but it’s only the first round of the World Cup Pre Qualifiers. In November we go again for round 2 where we have a chance to correct our mistakes.”

Dusha had one final word on the fixture, adding “I enjoy the matchups versus the other countries best point guards and tonight I got to go up against the EuroLeague guard ‘Chris Jones’ who I’ve seen many times compete in Europe's top division.”

Indeed, Dusha gave an excellent account of himself, proving to be a valuable member of the Albanian National side as they seek qualification for the World Cup in 2027. He didn’t look out of place against his Euroleague opposition and finished the night with 15-points, 4 rebounds and 4

assists and was one of only two Albanian players to finish with a positive “plus/minus” making him one of their most valuable players. Something his Plymouth City Patriots fans back home can be very proud of. Dusha will now head back to the UK for the Patriots away clash in Sheffield against the Sharks on 29th February. 

Catch Elvisi and team in action at home on March 24th and 29th and pick up your tickets here

Pablo Cheeks

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