Home 2006 FIFI Wild Cup
Despite the Schengen Convention and the freedom of travel within Europe, there are some pretty odd borders on the old continent:
A runway located between the Spanish city of La Línea de la Concepción and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar – the only place where you can see “island monkeys” (a German nickname for our British friends) in continental Europa – dividing Spain and the UK.
Another strange border is the divide between the Republic of Moldova and the defecting state of Pridnestrovie, better known as “Transnistria”, where Lenin is still going strong.
The strangest one, however, may very well be a border between two popular holiday destinations:
The UN-Buffer Zone between Cyprus and its occupied north, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, that leaves the capital of Nikosia as the only remaining divided capital in Europe.
After a 1974 coup d'état by the Greek army, Nikos Sampson was installed as a mere puppet president, in order to conduct the “Enosis”, the conflation of Greece and Cyprus. Understandably, the Turkish minority living on the island weren’t particularly excited about the idea of joining Greece. Thus, Turkish forces intervened and captured a considerable part of the island, expelling the 150,000 Greek Cypriots that lived there. Subsequently, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” was declared, a de facto state, recognized by such countries as: Turkey…
Already established in 1955, the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation (KTFF) has never been part of FIFA and therefore only took part in unofficial games and tournaments.
After joining the NF-Board in 2003, the country was able to play more frequently and take part in bigger competitions, where they proved to be quite successful:
They won the 2006 FIFI Wild Cup, achieved a second place in the VIVA World Cup, as well as being 3rd and 2nd in the 2016 and 2018 ConIFA World Football Cup, respectively.
While the shirt is quite interesting for many reasons, the design is certainly not one of them…
The shirt was used when Northern Cyprus took part in the 2006 FIFI Wild Cup, an alternative “World Cup” for unrecognized states, that was hosted in Germany. Criticized for focusing mainly on commercial aspects rather than on the athletic qualities, the event was promoted by German TV station Sport1 (former DSF) and featured “comedian” Elton (one of the reasons that the whole world thinks German don’t have a sense of humor…) as the event’s patron.
Five countries took part in the tournament: Northern Cyprus, Greenland, Zanzibar (“coached” by even worse “comedian” Oliver Pocher), Gibraltar and Tibet. A sixth team, “The Republic of St. Pauli” is a fictional state, based in Hamburg’s entertainment district “St. Pauli” and simultaneously the host “city”.
The Turkish Cypriots advanced to the final without losing any of their games and eventually won the tournament on penalties against Zanzibar.
The shirt they wore was manufactured by Goool.de, a short-lived German sportswear brand, established by Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund as a means to cash in more money from merchandising sales. It features a German advertising slogan “Halber Mond, ganzer Kerl.”, which translates to “Half-moon, whole/real man” and is obviously a really bad pun…
While the FIFI Wild Cup (also a bad pun…) obviously wasn’t a big success for the promotion of German comedy, it certainly showed that the Turkish Cypriot national team is a force to be reckoned with among the unrecognized football states.