The Athletic Union of Karavas was founded in 1957 by a group of young citizens who wanted to create a pure athletic club putting aside any political beliefs and differences.
With the help of its pioneers, Costas Pikrallidas, Andreas Kozakos, Costas Patsalis, Demetrakis Aspris, Yiannis Kouvakas and Costas Flouris, the club held its constitutive assembly on May 2, 1957 at the First Urban School of Karavas. There, the club was given the name “A.E.K”. At the assembly there were about 50 people present. The first elected members of the temporary Board were Demetrakis Aspris, Andreas Kozakos, Costas Pikrallidas, Costas Patsalis, Costas Flouris, Yiannis Kouvakas and Andreas Iakovidis.
On September 8, 1957 a broader general assembly was held at the club’s premises (Paraskeva Spanoudis’ coffee shop, opposite the First Cooperative Grocery store), where representatives of both already existing athletic clubs (Karavas Youth Union and Aris Sports Club) were present. Those present, verified the establishment of the new Club and proceeded to dissolving the two existing athletic clubs, providing at the same time all their tangible and intangible assets to AEK. One of the major acts of the Club’s statute stated the prohibition of any political involvement. The official members of the first Board of Directors were Demetrakis Aspris (president), Andreas Kozakos, Costas Pikrallidas, Costas Flouris, Kyriacos Kozakos and Georgios Tsialia (members).
The leading figure of EOKA in the district of Kerynia, the golden Eagle of Pentadactylos, Kyriacos Matsis played a significant role in achieving the merging of the two clubs. From its foundation and onwards, the Club took part in every athletic, spiritual and artistic event organized in Karavas and the area of Kerynia. AEK managed to promote athleticism and gradually proceeded to creating departments dedicated to football, basketball, table tennis and classical athletics.
Soon after its creation, the club established a strong football team which took part in every football challenge and game organized throughout Cyprus, from Ayios Amvrosios to Ksero and from Lisi to Paphos, promoting in this way the town of Karavas.
The golden age of AEK was during the years 1967-1971. With AEK guiding the way, the football games became more organized and structured throughout the district of Kerynia (EPOEK). Livanos Kormakiti and AEK were the two football teams that monopolized the championship and the Cup titles.
The successful course of AEK and the pursuit of the championship title (a goal set by the Board of Directors at the ceremony organized by the Club at the “Mills” in June 1974) were overturned by the Turkish Invasion. In 1975-76, AEK, without any financial resources and with its football players and members of the Board scattered around the free areas of Cyprus, responds to the call of Cyprus Football Association and agrees to reactivate the football team. After reactivation, the team took part in the Second and Third Division Championship along with PAEK, competing together with the name PAEK/AEK and finished in the second place in the league following Ethnikos Achnas. The match was held at Achileas Stadium in Kaimakli and coach was once again Marios Papallos.
In 1977-78, all AEK football players signed to PAEEK football club which swore to promote all football activities of the city and district of Kerynia. Leading figures throughout the course of AEK were Yiannis Kouvakas (football officer) and Takis Vlachos, (player 1957-1973).
Basketball was not very much promoted because AEK did not have the necessary establishments. In the beginning of 1972 however, the Board of Directors decided to promote the sport, constructing a basketball stadium with changing rooms, tiers and offices right next to the Club Premises. On November 20, AEK became a member of TEAK and during the season 1972-73 it participated in the Second Division Championship. With Krinos Markides as the team’s coach it managed to rank second behind Olympiakos Nicosia. During 1973-74, with Mikis Shiakallis as coach, AEK managed once again to finish in the second place following ENAO Ayion Omologiton. In the summer of 1973, AEK organized a basketball tournament in Karavas in which the best basketball clubs of Cyprus (APEOL, PAEK, Digenis Morphou and Achileas Kaimakliou) participated.
In 1973 AEK becomes a member of the Hellenic Volleyball Federation and takes part in the 1973-74 Second Division championship achieving good results.
The Club also promoted classical athletics. Every year AEK organized the Whitsun games at Lampousa stadium where year by year, along with APOL Lapithou would win the shield of the champion. At the last Whitsun games which took place on June 2, 1974, AEK won the shield. Besides APOL, other teams would also take part in the games like IKAROS Ayiou Georgiou, THOI Vasilias, RIGAS Dioriou, Lapithos Reform Club and other neighboring clubs. AEK also participated in the spring games called “Ta Matsia” organized in April by Praxandros, in honor of the Golden Eagle of Pentadaktylos, Kyriacos Matsis.
In the 1974 games, AEK finished second. AEK had sired a number of talented athletes who stood out in District and National games, e.g. Demetris Pateras (100m track and field), Neofytos Neofytou (800m and 1500m), Sofocles Neofytou (long distance track), Andreas Pateras (400m) and Charalambos Tsaggaris (long jump) etc.
Table tennis was very popular among AEK members. In 1974, AEK’s table tennis players participated in the National championship games organized by POEPA at the premises of Eleftheria Asscosiation in Palouriotissa, where they did relatively well despite their inexperience.
Along with sports, the club was involved in cultural, artistic and spiritual activities as well.
In 1964 a dance group was formed receiving favorable comments after every performance. The group performed at hundreds of national and cultural events in Cyprus. It also performed abroad, at Irodous of Attica Theater, at Palais de Sport in Thessaloniki and in Rhodes Island honoring in this way AEK and the town of Karavas.
AEK honored all national anniversaries especially the anniversary of the beginning of the EOKA Liberation struggle with in-house celebrations. In the 1974 celebration, Nikos Kosiis, one of the leading members of EOKA, gave a speech at AEK’s ceremony.
In memory and honor of two of the EOKA heroes, Gregoris Afxentiou and Kyriakos Matsis, AEK representatives were always present at the national memorials held in Mahairas and Dikomo, holding AEK’s flag.
Every year AEK organized the so called Whitsun festivities which were held under the auspices of the Municipality of Karavas. The two-day long celebrations would begin on Pentecost Sunday with track and field competitions at Lampousa stadium and would finish on Whitsun Monday with various water sports and competitions at the small harbor of Lampousa followed by dance and rhyming couplets song competitions at Lampousa stadium.
The donkey race was also part of the Whitsun competitions in earlier years. Star of the race was always Andreas Costa Sifounas. In between the various competitions and before the Whitsun Monday games, primary school children from Karavas and Lapithos would dance Cypriot and Greek dances and would participate in the egg and bag races.
Whitsun festivities were considered to be the biggest and most important social event of the year attended by almost all the residents of Karavas as well as by people from surrounding areas.
The Lemon Dance
Displacement - Reactivation
In the first years after the Turkish Invasion, the football team was the only team of the club that was reactivated (1975 – 76).
During the General Assembly of AEK which was held at the premises of Apollonas in Lemesos, on August 25, 1976, AEK’s members decided to merge the club’s football team with the football team of PAEK Kyrenias. A new attempt to reactivate the club came in 2000 when a group of club members decided to set the basis for the development and the promotion of the club in the sports life of Cyprus. The first stages were difficult but gradually the efforts bore fruit.
AEK’s recent achievements
The first important distinction of the club came in 2005 when the volleyball team participated in the CEV CUP. President of the club during that time was Damianos Hadjidamianou. The games took place in France from November 11 to November 13 and the team managed to climb to the third place, a place that highlighted AEK’s notable athletic efforts and promoted at the same time the occupied town of Karavas at an international level.
The most important distinctions of AEK came in 2010 when the volleyball team won the First Division Cup. The game took place on April 23, 2010 at Spyros Kyprianos stadium against the former champion Anorthosis. The game was exciting and the results were 3-2 in favor of POKKA AEK Karava Lampousa. This distinction made the people of Karavas, the citizens of the area of Kyrenia and all the fans of the club extremely proud.
The same year, the volleyball team won the Super -Cup with 3-1. The Super-Cup is a game organized annually by the Cyprus Volleyball Federation. Only the title and Cup holder teams have the right to compete in it. The game was held on October 22, 2010.
After winning the Cup, the volleyball team participated in the 2010 “European Challenge Cup” where AEK played against AEP Patras. The first game took place in Patra on November 17, 2010 and AEP Patras won 3-1 set. The second game took place on November 24, 2010 at the University of Cyprus’s stadium. Again the Greek team won the game with 3-0 set. The Europe Challenge Cup was a truly fruitful experience for AEK since it gave the club the opportunity to promote the occupied town of Karavas.
The second place enabled AEK to participate in international games. In December 2011, AEK participated in the CEV Challenge Cup, where the volleyball team beat the Austrian team Hot Volleys with 3-0 set in both games in Vienna and Cyprus. In 2012, AEK proceeded to winning the Finnish team Lacapa Ravonec. AEK’s volleyball team managed to qualify for the 16th finals, gaining essential experiences and positive exposure through the media.
During the 2012-13 season, title winner AEK beat the 2012 Cup winner Anorthosis and won the Super Cup. One more great achievement that honors the town of Karavas and the people who support this refugee sports union. The Super Cup game took place on October 12, 2012 at Spyros Kyprianos stadium in Lemesos.
Big goals and great desires. All are interconnected with the love and pride for the occupied town of Karavas. The president and members of the club, the sponsors and friends of AEK Karava Lampousa reassure people that they will do their best so that the notable course of AEK in the athletic life of Cyprus continues until the blessed day of return to its motherland, the unforgettable town of Karavas.