By KEREM HASAN/Chief Reporter
The invitation is part of 2018 celebrations to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Turkish Cypriot migration to Australia.
Visiting the TRNC, Cairnlea FC president Cengiz Kulaç, 37, said he held meetings with Sports Department and Cyprus Turkish Football Association (KTFF) officials.
Speaking to Cyprus Today, Mr Kulaç said: “We have expressed an interest to organise, for the first time in history, a game between the TRNC national team and Cairnlea FC next year.
“The head of the Sports Department, Hüseyin Cahitoğlu and Enver Baturalp from KTFF have said they are fully supportive of this in principle and we are currently discussing details. The TRNC will pay for air travel and we will meet accommodation costs”.
Mr Kulaç, who used to play as a goalkeeper, said: “Cairnlea is the only Turkish Cypriot-run club in Australia and has direct links to [world football governing authority] Fifa, as it is run by the Victorian Football Federation.
“The objective is to get the Turkish Cypriots of Australia remembered in North Cyprus and also to smash the sports embargoes on the TRNC youth, to show the world that sports and politics should not be mixed. We also want the youth of both countries to embrace each other”.
Cairnlea FC, which has also played in the Victorian Premier League but was renegated in 2000, is today based in Sunshine and has its own pavillion and facilities.
The club was formed in Melbourne in 1969 when its name was Royal Park. It was later renamed Albion Rovers, then changed again to Albion Türk Gücü before taking on the name it has today after the team moved to Cairnlea.
Today, the side is made up of mixed nationalities from Turkish Cypriot and Turkish to Croat, Serbian and Greek, but the board is all Turkish Cypriot.
The club has enjoyed success playing at the highest levels in Victorian football including finals campaigns in the Victorian Premier League (VPL) and winning a host of Victorian State League titles and many League Cups.
A combined five league titles between the Men’s and Women's teams has given the club the most successful record of any Turkish Cypriot-backed club in Australian history.
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