The History of Cyprus’ Most Torrid Soccer Rivalry in “The Blizzard”

Cyprus is getting some serious space in the news these days, probably for the first time since about 1974, when a Turkish invasion split the country in two.

I recently spent some time in the country, mostly due to the pull of implicit egoism. Also while there, I investigated the country’s most torrid soccer rivalry, the Nicosia derby between Omonoia and Apoel. My piece about the history of the rivalry was published in The Blizzard Football Quarterly (VIII) in March. I recommend it to anyone interested in soccer, Cyprus, coups, or overlooked history – interests that should account for pretty much everybody. The rivalry is a fascinating and deep-rooted one that stretches back to the British occupation of the island. I also hope the piece sheds some light on the the country’s current political state.

For those who aren’t familiar with The Blizzard, it is a quarterly magazine started by The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson for folks who prefer their soccer stewed in some culturo-politico juices, or for those so consumed by soccer that they cannot process information of any other sort. The magazine’s content and style are wonderfully diverse. Issue VIII has some stellar pieces on: Mourinho’s cult of personality; Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s otherness; and the ups and downs of Nigeria’s national team. Oh, and the magazine offers an ingenious “pay-what-you-like” option for both print and digital forms.

One comment

  1. cyphilbrick · · Reply

    The following is a comment from Steve Menary:

    Hi Cyrus,

    I’m a Blizzard reader/contributor. I thought your article on Cyprus was excellent.

    There was one thing you might be interested in though. You mention Salamina’s attempts to sign Turkish Cypriot players being prevented by the TRNC government. It’s true when Sabri Senden went south he was criticised by then TRNC president Rauf Denktas and others have had problems more recently.

    But after the border was opened up, Coscun Ulusory signed for Salamina in 2004 on a £9k a year contract. He was with Salamina for two seasons, going back and forth over the border every day. Coscun only cancelled his contract when his mother-in-law got sick and he took a job back in the north. I met Coscun a couple of times and he said although he got a bit of stick, it was only from a few fans, never any players from his team or his opponents and that he had good memories of Salamina, who didn’t want him to leave.

    That shouldn’t detract in any way from what I thought was an excellent article though.

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