BeqirS | 4 Apr 04:58 2006

Vrasje fatale ne Bronks : Shot dead after row at soccer

Shot dead after row at soccer

Shooter waited - cops

A violent collision in a sandlot soccer game in the Bronx led one player to fatally shoot his opponent, cops and the victim's family said yesterday.

Albanian immigrant Besnik Qelia, 27, was gunned down near his Bolton St. home at Lydig Ave. at 10:20 p.m. Saturday - just hours after a game on a Pelham Parkway median.

"That is where it started, an argument on the field," said a relative of Qelia's who didn't want his name used.

"Things got carried over, the guy waited for him at the corner of his building and shot him."

The relative said a fight between the men erupted after Qelia plowed into the gunman on the makeshift soccer pitch at Cruger Ave. and Pelham Parkway.

Family and friends of the victim were bewildered by the shooting, which they say was carried out by a 24-year-old Albanian whose family they knew.

"It was stupidity," said one angry relative.

Aside from the fight on the field, "There was no bad blood," said Nicky Rugovia, 38, a friend of Qelia's family.

He said the suspect's family called Qelia's family to apologize.

Police said there were no arrests yesterday and the case remained under investigation.

Qelia's family said he had successfully applied for political asylum and that the night before he was killed he received official permission to return to Albania to bring his young wife, Desdemona, to America.

The couple married five years ago, just months before Qelia came to New York, where he worked as a house painter.

"He was the nicest, quietest, most respectful young man you can imagine," Rugovia said of Qelia, who lived with his 19-year-old brother - a witness to the killing.

Qelia regularly sent money home to his family in Tropoj, where he will be buried.

"He was caring for his whole family - not just his brother," Rugovia said.