Greek Cypriot first to play for Turkish-Cypriot football side in 60 years
NICOSIA - Reuters
Since joining Değirmenlik last month, the 35-year-old has been the target of abuse by right-wing Greek Cypriots who objected to the transfer.A soccer player became the first Greek Cypriot to turn out for a Turkish-Cypriot club in almost 60 years on Oct. 11.
Demetris Vassiliou played the last twenty minutes for second-tier Turkish-Cypriot side Değirmenlik in a hard fought 2-1 victory against rivals Düzkaya.
He came on with the scores level at 1-1 to the applause of all 200 spectators who were in attendance.
"My team mates, the opposition, the crowd and even the match officials were superb. That was my only real reservation for playing in the north, the reaction of the locals, but they were all very supportive - even the ref at the final whistle told me 'Welcome!'," Vassiliou told Reuters.
Since joining Değirmenlik last month, the 35-year-old has been the target of abuse by right-wing Greek Cypriots who objected to the transfer.
Turkish Cypriot clubs cannot presently play in international fixtures because of the ongoing stalemate on the divided island.
The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and the Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CTFA) signed a provisional agreement in November last year in which both sides agreed in principle that the CTFA would become a member of the CFA after a split in 1954.
Vassiliou has since been joined by a second Greek Cypriot at Değirmenlik, but 29-year-old Argiris Christophi was not available to play in Saturday's match.
Christophi and Vassiliou were former team mates in the Greek-Cypriot league and the former has been vocally defiant in his statements the the Greek Cypriot media following his transfer.
"It's my life and I'll do whatever I want with it," Christophi told local media this week.