It is always nice to mix with different nationalities and the team chemistry is by far the best I have [ever] witnessed
In an exclusive for English Players Abroad, expatriate defender Michael Felgate talks Cypriot football and his ambitions to become an international player.
The 23-year-old plays for Cyprus top division side Ayia Napa. More renowned for its tourist resorts, Ayia Napa are in their first season back in the top tier having won the second division last season. The English defender has two Division 2 medals in his trophy cabinet, having also won the title in 2012.
Felgate is now in his fifth season with the island side, having joined from fellow Cypriot side Enosis Neon Paralimni.
He has been a regular starter this season so far, having made nine starts at the time of writing.
EPA: Have you always lived in Cyprus or have you lived in England as well? If so, did you play football for any clubs in England?
MF: I lived in England and [then] at a young age, I moved to Cyprus but I did not play for any clubs there [in England].
EPA: What is the standard of football like in Cyprus’ 1. Division?
MF: I rate the standard of Cyprus division high, [especially] if you think what APOEL has achieved in the past few years [in the Champions League].[Although], I haven’t played in any other leagues so I cannot be the best judge.
EPA: I’ve noticed there are a few other Englishmen playing in Cyprus. Have you ever played against any?
MF: I have played against Corrin Brooks-Meade, who currently plays for Nea Salamis. We were previously teammates at Alki Larnaca.
EPA: There’s quite a mix of nationalities in the Ayia Napa side. What is the team chemistry like?
MF: It is always nice to mix with different nationalities and the team chemistry is by far the best I have [ever] witnessed in my years in football, which is very important for the team to be successful.
EPA: How would you describe your season so far?
MF: We didn’t start off too well but we are getting better and hopefully we can start picking up more points.
EPA: Who is the best player you have ever played with or against?
MF: In an official match, I would have to say (Cyprus international and current FC Sion player) [Demetris] Christofi was one of the hardest players to mark due to his pace.
EPA: What are your future ambitions? Are there any other countries you would like to play in during your career?
MF: My future ambition is to get into the Cyprus national team. As for moving, I wouldn’t mind playing in a different country as it would be a good life experience – but it’s not always easy.