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Ozler first Turkish Cypriot called up for Cyprus national team

ozler
Omonia's Tahsin Ozler

Omonia’s Tahsin Ozler has earned a call-up to the Cyprus national U-19 football team for the next two training sessions, becoming the first Turkish Cypriot to be called up at any age since the creation of the Cyprus national team.

The training sessions will take place at the Pyrgos community stadium on February 20 and 21 under the scrutiny of head coach Arsen Mihajlovic, who will select players for the upcoming Under-19 European Championship, to be held from 15-28 July in Northern Ireland.

Ozler signed his first professional contract with Omonia on February 8. He is now contracted to the club until the end of the 2026/27 season.

Ozler made history in January by becoming the first Turkish Cypriot since 1957 to play for the club’s first team, coming off the bench to play the last half an hour of the side’s 3-0 Coca Cola Cup victory over Digenis Ypsona.

He is just the second Turkish Cypriot to have played for Omonia’s first team, with the other, Ibrahim Aziz, having featured in the 1956-57 season.

He came through the club’s academy, having first signed at the age of 11 in 2017.
His rise through Omonia’s ranks marks a rare show of unity on a Cypriot football landscape which has faced division for longer than the island’s political scene.

The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) had initially been a bicommunal organisation, with Turkish Cypriot teams featuring in its competitions. Nicosia-based Turkish Cypriot club Cetinkaya even saw trophy-laden success in the early 1950s, going toe to toe with the likes of Apoel.

However, Turkish Cypriot teams were banned from playing at many Greek Cypriot-owned grounds in 1955, and thus set up their own association, the CTFA, with competitions separate from that of the CFA.

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