Padania, a region of northern Italy, are champions of Europe after beating Northern Cyprus in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Ataturk Stadium in Lefkosa. The team’s win concluded a fantastic tournament, with CONIFA teams playing plenty of exciting football and enjoying wonderful hospitality from our Northern Cypriots hosts.
Following an eventful group stage, Northern Cyprus overcame Szekely Land while Padania triumphed over world champions Abkhazia in the semi-finals. Szekely Land went on to beat Abkhazia in the third-place playoff.
By placing first and second respectively, Padania and Northern Cyprus will both earn spots at the 2018 World Football Cup.
View photos below. All images copyright Jana Cavojska
Johannes Sauerwein kindly volunteered his services to media manager the European Football Cup for CONIFA. Below he shares his experiences from Northern Cyprus.
Northern Cyprus 2017 – How I saw my first CONIFA Euros
Shortly before the opening match on Sunday, June 4, I, a PhD student in Sports Economics, arrived a Larnaca Airport. In that moment, I thought that I went to Northern Cyprus to escape from sports business rather than to find genuine sport. On the contrary, my week in Northern Cyprus blew me away.
It was the time…
- Going to Mağusa, Güzelyurt, Lefkoşa and Girne;
- Having a wonderful walk through the picturesque historic town of Kyrenia;
- Visiting countless remains of past civilizations, miles of natural beaches, beautiful calm sea in a wonderful mild climate;
- Spending time in beautiful Northern Cyprus
- Sitting in the VIP stand of the Atatürk Stadium to witness the opening match Northern Cyprus vs Karpatalja;
- Getting to know the Prime Minister of Northern Cyprus, Hüseyin Özgürgün;
- Witnessing seven soccer matches live;
- Being able to cheer 18 goals (and six goals in penalty shoot-out);
- Making 14 posts on Facebook;
- Sharing 20 pictures on Instagram;
- Tweeting 177 times;
- Participating in two CONIFA Executive Committee meetings and six CONIFA Technical Meetings;
- Assisting international media;
- Dealing with media requests:
- Answering questions and arranging interviews;
- Discussing the future of the Middle and Near East with the president of the Kurdistan (IRAQ) Football Association, Mr. Safeen Kanabe;
- Having dinner with the President of the National Olympic Committee of Abkhazia, Mr. Valery Arshba;
- Trying to understand the Liverpool Scouse;
- Listening to the stories of a former soldier talking about the chronicle of the Caucasian War;
- Philosophizing about glory glory Man United with the head coach of the Ellan Vannin football team, Mr. Chris Bas;
- Marveling at the traditional dances of the Abkhazians;
- Watching the perfect final match Northern Cyprus vs Padania;
- Sympathizing deeply felt with the losing team Northern Cyprus while also joining in the jubilant choir of Padania.
- Making so many new friends
- Realizing that CONIFA is building bridges between people, nations, minorities and isolated regions all over the world through friendship, culture and the joy of playing football
- Knowing that football can still achieve great things and I will fully engage myself to support the work of CONIFA!
– Johannes Sauerwein