Leyton Orient FC attacking midfielder Jason Demetriou could be kicking off a trend for Cypriot football after being called up for a trial with the national team ahead of the island's friendly against Serbia next month.
Coach Angelos Anastasiadis has looked to the third tier of English football as Cyprus aim to mount a serious challenge in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. With Cyprus set to take part in a friendly tournament in Nicosia next week, playing Serbia on Tuesday and then either Ukraine or Slovakia the following day, Demetriou will get his chance to impress. A Cyprus Football Association (CFA) spokesman said the 21-year-old "is one of many young players that the coach has his eye on".
Born and bred
The London-born Demetriou – whose father played for Anorthosis Famagusta FC – had never really thought that he would ever play for Cyprus. "I was born in England, raised in England and played football here so I can't really say that it was my childhood dream to play for Cyprus," he admitted. "Still, you never know. I don't really know that much about Cypriot football except the basics really. I watched Anorthosis in the Champions League and the national team and both sides have made strides in the last few years."
The CFA is constantly on the lookout for players of Cypriot origin plying their trades overseas in countries such as England, Australia, South Africa and the United States, where there are substantial expatriate Cypriot communities. In the past, they unsuccessfully attempted to lure two players from England to the national team, namely Muzzy Izzet, who instead opted for Turkey, and Jason Koumas, who chose to play for Wales. Should Demetriou impress, he will set a useful precedent.
Today, Greek coach Anastasiadis called up a total of 24 players, including Demetriou, but there was surprisingly no call-up for in-form APOEL FC midfield attacker Nektarios Alexandrou, nor AEL Limassol FC's young goalkeeper Panagiotis Konstantinou, who has been in outstanding form for his side of late. Training begins on Monday.
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