KOPA Youth trip major success
What a feast of Youth football we had in Cyprus last week the KOPA Youth players all Cypriot origin from the age of fifteen and nineteen arrived in Cyprus Sunday October the 28th staying and training in Limassol and arrived back in the UK Monday night November the 5th . It was an initiative started by the Cypriot Sports Association (KOA) and the Cypriot Football League in the UK (KOPA) that consists of two divisions of ten clubs each.
The purpose of this project is to find players in Great Britain to represent the Cyprus National sides at different age groups. Judging by the response from clubs and National team representatives they were pleased with the quality and character of the KOPA players.
It all began last season with players sourced through English Youth Leagues, Cypriot Youth Clubs and of Course the KOPA League.
A sub committee was formed consisting of Tony Antoniou, Nick Demetriades, Kokos Georgiou, Kypros Kyprianou, Mario Michael, Michalakis Michael, Andy Savva and Michael Yiakoumi.
Their first job was to appoint a management team and it was decided that Tom Loizou a former Leyton Orient manager and UEFA A coach would be manager, the coaches selected were David Cumberbatch UEFA B Licensed coach and ex West Ham School of Excellence Coach. John Fitsiou who has a University degree in Sport and Science is also on board he was the Leyton Orient first Team fitness coach and also a sports scientist at the Leyton Orient Centre of Excellence. John is also the head of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Educational Programme at Southgate College. Peter Theori a UEFA B licensed coach who works at Leyton Orient centre of excellence and who also works as Head of the Sports Dept of The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.Jack Demetriou is a chartered physiotherapist with a wealth of experience in professional sport. He has worked with Arsenal, West Ham United, Chelsea, Leyton Orient, and AC Milan. He is presently working with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, a lecturer in Anatomy and Physiology and owns a private practice. He is also the England U 23 Physiotherapist. Finally the goal keeping Coach Nick Christofi who have all volunteered their services.
Three games were played an Under 16 game versus the Cyprus National side was arranged by the Cyprus Football Association KOP where there was an allowance for a couple of over aged players for both sides and two under 19 games versus AEL and New Salamis.
As well as the football the delegation and players paid a visit to the Presidential Palace
The support from the Cyprus Community was fantastic RIK TV filmed the games plus the KOPA Youth squad training and even interviewed players. The Cyprus newspapers covered the tour as well which was very pleasing in their immense interest.
KOPA Squad for the tour : Nicholas Kyriacou, Chris Antoniou, Anas Manoli, Matthew Agapiou, Phanos Chambi, Jack Christodoulou, Andreas Komodikis, Luke Prokopiou, George Pascoulis, Stephan Stephanides, Stavros Demetri – Brown, Marino Hadjisavva, Kyriakos Tiritanou, Chris Elia, Kyriaco Georgiou, Mario Aristides, Aris Savva, Adam Andreou, Amerigo Sarno,andAlex Anderson. Manager Tom Loizou. Coaches: Dave Cumberbatch, JohnFitsiou, Peter Theori and Nick Christofi.
There is a big thank you from the KOPA League to the support from KOA, Cyprus Airways, Cyprus High Commission, Cyprus Tourist Organisation, Dino Ippocratous, Lighthouse Claims, Brunswick Garage, Selco, YVA Solicitors, Haringey Borough, Buzz Sweets and of course all media in the UK both newspapers Parikiaki, Eleftheria and the radio station LGR.
Comment from the coaches Manager Tom Loizou. Coaches: Dave Cumberbatch, JohnFitsiou, Peter Theori and Nick Christofi.
Overall it has been a great worthwhile experience for all players concerned many of them had never experienced playing (3) games in a week - entailing different types of training sessions and also having to rehydrate and refuel correctly. Even though we had known most of the players through the previous sessions and matches played we did not really know their characteristics and this week with the squad coaching we were able to get to know the players with the assistance of Nick Christofi in particular leading the way! Judging by the amount of goals scored on set pieces it was valuable that the players were able to take on board this type of information onto the field of play. It was also pleasing that several players were identified as "talented" by the opposition coaches eg Stavros Demetri -Brown, Alex Anderson and Adam Andreou. We on the coaching team believe the best gift we have given the squad are good examples and the young players have improved immensely through this experience.
I believe the investment in time and money made by everyone involved in the arrangements for this trip, achieved its aims.
Chairman of KOPA Lakis Chrysostomou said
We have received recognition and established good relations with KOA, KOP, AEL and New Salamis in Cyprus and involved young coaches and sub committee members in KOPA’s work. Above all we have shown that we are keen to involve young players in KOPA and promote their interest in football and sport generally. We hope that for one or two of the players who went on the trip this may be the start of a career in football, and who knows, we may even see one of them representing the national team in years to come.
It’s great to have everyone back and say well done for a good job.
This Youth football initiative between Cyprus and the Cypriot Community in the UK will be ongoing if there are any football players of Cypriot origin between the ages of fifteen and eighteen who like to attend the next trial please contact the