Cyprus coach Momcilo Vukotic will name his final squad today to face Israel and Slovenia in their upcoming Euro 2004 qualifying matches, following his initial announcement of 24 players on Friday.
Vukotic yesterday made his feelings clear on the importance of Saturday's clash against Israel in Limassol. "This is the decisive game in the group that will determine Cyprus's entire European campaign."
The Cypriots will train today in Nicosia with the two PAOK Thessaloniki forwards, Yiannakis Okkas and Yiasoumis Yiasoumi, coming from Greece to join their teammates.
The Cypriots were surprised to hear that Eyal Berkovic would not be playing for Israel. "This is very good news for us," said journalist Theodoros Kapkarides. "Cyprus has chronic problems in its midfield, and certainly has nobody of Berkovic's standard."
On Friday, Vukotic called up 24 players, 21 home based and three from Greece: Panathinaikos striker Michalis Konstantinou and the two PAOK players.
The most significant inclusion is that of APOEL Nicosia FC goalkeeper Michalis Morfis, who was recalled after a two-year absence. The 24-year-old has excelled with the First Division leaders this term, conceding just 11 goals in 20 games.
APOEL striker Stavros Georgiou is also involved, while there could be a debut for AEL Limassol FC's Georgos Konstanti.
After playing Israel in Limassol next Saturday, the Cypriots travel to Ljubljana to face Slovenia on April 2.
"The game against Israel is very important to us. We want to win to enhance our chances of reaching second place in the group," said captain Nicos Panagiotou. Vukotic's team are currently third in the section.
Cyprus squad: Panagiotou, Shimitras, Morfis, Konstanti, Konnafis, Nicolaou, Daskalakis, Okkarides, Spyrou, Germanos, Ioakim, N Georgiou, Theodotou, Eleftheriou, Michael, Tomic, Charalambides, Kaiafas, Neophytou, Rauffmann, S Georgiou, Konstantinou, Okkas, Yiasoumi.
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