Walking Football goes international

Seventeen gentlemen of mature years arrive on February 20 from the UK, complete with defibrillator donated by FIFA, for the first ever Walking Football International Competition sponsored by Blevins Franks.

On February 21 the Cove Rapidly Ageing Pensioners from Farnborough, Hampshire, will play the Soccer Olhanense Strollers on the Astro-turf pitch adjoining the José Arcanjo Stadium in Olhão (behind McDonalds on the EN125).

The footballers, all over 50 years of age and some well into their 70s, will kick-off their four challenge games at 11am.

In a special message for the commemorative programme, British Ambassador Kirsty Hayes said: “I was delighted to hear that the first ever Walking Football international match will be held here in Portugal, between British and Portuguese teams, the latest manifestation of the ties that bind our two countries in the oldest alliance. Football is a truly international language and walking football opens participation in the beautiful game to a new group of players, promoting good health and enjoyment amongst the over-50s.”

Admission is free and souvenir items of this historic event will be on sale. On Saturday evening, British Vice-consul Clive Jewell will present the John Mortimore Trophy as 80 guests sit down to dinner at the Olá Peixe Restaurant.

A camera crew from the English Football Association will be filming events for a TV documentary. On the Sunday morning the action will start up again but this time it will be FootGolf at the Colina Verde Golf & Sports Resort at Maragota.

Photo: British Ambassador Kirsty Hayes presents the match ball to Chris Wright