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Ghana midfielder jailed four months for forgery in Albania

Winful Cobbinah, a Ghanaian footballer based in Albania has been sentenced to four months in prison in Albania after being found guilty of ‘forgery of official documents’.

Ghanasoccernet.com reveals that the former Accra Hearts of Oak playmaker was hit with the shocking sentence at the Tirana court on Tuesday after he was found guilty of falsifying his residence permit.

However, there is a big relief for the FK Tirana superstar as the judge commuted the sentence to 100 hours of community service because the midfielder was declared a person of exemplary conduct.

“He is not a threat to the society,” the judge said when issuing his ruling.

Cobbinah landed himself in unnecessary trouble when he was caught by the police authorities in Rinas with a forged residence permit.

His plight worsened last month when the country’s President Meta granted him an Albania passport within a record eight hours to enable him to qualify as an Albanian player.

This would have helped FK Tirana to buy more foreign players to boost their squad to play in European competitions but the opposition party led by the Prime Minister publicly clashed with the country’s president over the award of the passport.

The falsification of documents was hanging around Cobbinah’s neck before he was handed the Albanian passport to help him play for his club in the Europa League.

Albanian President Ilir Meta was accused of granting Cobbinah citizenship without verifying that there are criminal proceedings against the footballer which has led to a national debate.

The opposition party led by Prime Minister Edi Rama accused the country’s leader of abetting in the forging documents to grant Cobbinah Albanian citizenship. Cobbinah’s Albanian citizenship was facilitated just within eight hours.

Given that the Ghanaian has not spent five years in Albania, the decision by the President of the country – who is also an ardent supporter of KF Tirana – to hand citizenship to Cobbinah speaks volumes of how he is rated in that country.

Many also view this move by the Albanian government as an attempt to convince Cobbinah to switch nationality to play for them even though he has been invited to the Ghana Senior national team a couple of times.

Cobbinah joins other African football players including the well-known Abraham Alechenu, Charles Ofoye, and James Adeniyi who have all received Albanian passport in the past.

The former Hearts of Oak star played an influential role for KF Tirana as they clinched the Katergoria Superiore last season, ending an 11-year top-flight drought.

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