By Christos Meliopoulos - NicosiaFor a small European country Cyprus has made huge strides in many sports in recent years. One of these is women’s football, with progress evident in the European outings of Apollon ladies, a team that has consistently performed superbly in the female version of the Champions League.On 5th September the club from Limassol will learn its opponent in the last 32 of the competition, where it deservingly qualified for an impressive fourth consecutive year after topping a group with clubs from Slovakia, Israel and Moldova.The reigning Cyprus champions, founded only six years ago, may be the most prominent product of the good work that’s being done in Cyprus in women’s football, but the sport has also been methodically establishing grassroots facilities and a longer-term planning.Already football academies traditionally developing the skills of boys and young men have been attracting increasing numbers of young Cypriot ladies. UEFA even made a special reference to a girls’ academy established two years ago, in what was described as a sport “developing positively”. These girls aspire to break into a male dominated sport, which, however, in the last decades has provided international female role models as well, especially in Europe, Latin America and northern America.Cypriot ladies’ teams feature a number of foreign players, whose quality has helped the sport even further. UEFA’s funds have also been put into good use. But the main advantage of women’s football in Cyprus is the boundless enthusiasm and love of the sport of the people – men and women – who have made its development their mission, players and technical staff alike. There’s no better proof that their mission is successful than the beautiful football played on the pitch.