Wanderer takes path from Kosovo to grand final (The Sydney Morning Herald, April 21, 2013)

Labinot Haliti rarely thinks of his youth in war-torn Kosovo, or his arrival in Australia as a refugee, friendless and unable to speak English.

‘’That was in 1999 and it was an interesting chapter,'’ the Western Sydney Wanderers football star says. ‘’But since then, I don’t think any of us, my brothers or my parents, has looked back. We’ve all taken the next step, next step, next step, and now I find myself playing in a grand final.'’

Kosovo War prompted Haliti’s parents, Sam and Zana, to move the family from Pristina to Australia. ‘’We had a good life,'’ Haliti says. “But as time went on, things started to happen around the country with politics and my parents decided we had to leave.

‘’They made that choice for us. They had three boys and they wanted to give us a better future.'’

After a few months at a reception centre in south-western Sydney, the family settled in Parramatta, not far from the Wanderers’ home ground, Parramatta Stadium, and the three brothers, Labinot, Don and Lorik, attended Holroyd High School.

Labinot put everything into football…Haliti joined the Newcastle Jets in the A-League’s first season, 2005, played in Albania and Poland from 2007 to 2009 and returned to the Jets, before joining the Wanderers. […]