Cyprus, Nicosia

Football in Cyprus

Updated: 2 months ago

Sport number one in Cyprus is quite popular, which is not surprising: after all, it is a former British colony.

Moreover, just like in the birthplace of football, Cyprus also has all the attributes of football life - hooligans in the stands, travel bans, and scandals. Also, Alexander Kokorin plays for one of the clubs in Cyprus.

Футбол Кипр

Football History in Cyprus

Football emerged with the British, whose colony the island was until 1960. Various amateur clubs began to form on Cyprus since the early 20th century, but the league was only established in 1932, unofficially. The Cyprus Football Association was formed two years later, in 1934. Since 1948, the association has been a member of FIFA, and since 1962 - UEFA.

Football in Cyprus Today

Cyprus Football Championship

It is played in four divisions - A, B, C, and STOK Elite Division. In the A Division, 14 teams compete for the championship. Aris from Limassol became the winner of the A Division in the 2022-2023 season.

Cyprus Football Cup

Unlike many countries, the cup is not played between all teams of all divisions but is divided into competitions among the first and second divisions, as well as the third and fourth.

Interesting Facts about Football in Cyprus

"Northern Cyprus" Club in the South

Nea Salamis is officially considered a club from the city of Famagusta, which is actually under the control of the TRNC. So Nea Salamis plays its home matches in Larnaca.

Alexander Kokorin in Cyprus

One of the most famous football players in modern Russia (not least due to the scandal involving the beating of a government official) is owned by the Italian club Fiorentina, which loaned the player to the Cypriot club Aris from Limassol. In the 2022-2023 season, the team became the champion, and Alexander Kokorin was named the best player in Cyprus in 2023. The footballer played 21 matches for Aris, scoring 5 goals and providing 2 assists.

Do Turkish Cypriots play in the championship?

Extremely rarely, but now is such a case in history. 18-year-old Turkish Cypriot Tahsin Özler has signed a contract with the capital football club "Omonia". Previously, another Turkish Cypriot, Ibrahim Aziz, played for a club in Nicosia in the 1956-57 season.

The Most Decorated Footballer in Cyprus

Sotiris Kaiafas played for Omonia from the capital for 19 years, during which he became a champion of Cyprus 9 times and won the Cyprus Cup 6 times. In addition, Kaiafas is the owner of the "Golden Boot", an eight-time top scorer of the Cypriot championship, and the all-time top scorer in the history of the Cypriot championship with 261 goals.

The Most Decorated Club in Cyprus

It is the capital team APOEL. In its almost 100-year history, the club has become a champion of Cyprus 28 times, won the country's cup 21 times, and the Super Cup 13 times. In the 2011-2012 season, it even advanced from the group stage in the Champions League, surpassing opponents such as Porto, Shakhtar, and Zenit, and then eliminated Lyon in a penalty shootout in the playoffs.

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