After what feels like an eternity, East Algarve Walking Football and East Algarve FC are back in action with walking football and ‘normal’ running football sessions resuming on May 3.
We had over 20 players at our first session in Olhão and as Swedish-born defender Conny Holenweg said: “It’s great to be playing again and meeting up with good friends.”
We’re already having four sessions a week, two walking football for the over 50s (though younger players are also welcome); another walking football specifically for the over 60s; and a ‘normal’ running football session, at which all ages are welcome. We’re playing in both in Olhão and Tavira and more details of the locations and the timing of the sessions are available on our websites (see below).
We start every session with a warmup followed – at the walking football – by several matches of six or seven players a side playing for 10 minutes a game. At the running football, we typically play 11 a side matches of 20 minutes or so. All sessions are followed by a warm down to help soothe those aching limbs, and all social distancing and health protocols are observed.
Such is the popularity of walking football in the Algarve and throughout Portugal and Spain, we’re joining the new Walking Football Association Iberia which will help standardise the rules, organise tournaments and friendly games, and share good practice on things like health and fitness and liaison with local ‘câmaras’.
Our organiser Jonathan Syed said: “It’s fantastic to be playing football again. All our players pay to play (€3 per session) with a third of the income going into our charity fund. I’m really proud of the support our players provide to local causes, either by dedicating their time and expertise, and now simply by paying to play football again, as the more income we generate the more we can help local good causes.”
We play throughout the year, four days a week, and players of all abilities are welcome.
By VAUGHAN WILLMORE