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21 April, 2024
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Turkish Cypriot footballer scores pro deal with Omonoia

Tahsin Ozler's contract signing sends waves


In a landmark moment for Turkish Cypriot football, 18-year-old Tahsin Ozler has secured his first professional contract with Omonia, extending his tenure with the club until the close of the 2026/27 season.

As Philenews reports, Ozler's journey to professional status reached a pinnacle in January when he made history as the first Turkish Cypriot since 1957 to grace Omonia's first team. His memorable debut saw him contribute to the team's 3-0 victory over Digenis Ypsona in the Coca Cola Cup, stepping onto the field for the last half-hour of play.

His progression through Omonia's ranks underscores a rare unity in Cypriot football, a landscape often marked by division mirroring the island's political complexities. Notably, Ozler joins Ibrahim Aziz as one of the few Turkish Cypriots to have donned Omonia's iconic jersey, harkening back to Aziz's appearances during the 1956-57 season.

Ozler's roots trace back to Omonia's academy, where he first signed at the age of 11 in 2017, showcasing the club's commitment to nurturing local talent.

However, the backdrop against which Ozler's ascent unfolds is one of historical discord. The Cyprus Football Association (CFA), once a symbol of bicommunal cooperation, witnessed a fracture in 1955 when Turkish Cypriot teams were barred from Greek Cypriot-owned grounds. This division led to the formation of the CTFA, initiating separate competitions and perpetuating football's entanglement with politics.

Efforts to bridge the gap between the two associations have faltered over the years, with recent tensions surfacing as the CTFA explores joining the international football community under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). CFA Chairman George Koumas has expressed staunch opposition to such overtures, illustrating the enduring complexities of Cyprus's footballing landscape.

Ozler's triumph serves as a beacon of hope, transcending divisions and offering a glimpse of unity in a sport that has long mirrored the island's fractured identity.

[With information sourced from Philenews]

Cyprus  |  Omonoia  |  team  |  player  |  football  |  Turkish

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