International || The Olhanense Walking Football team for the over 50s will be welcoming their first international opponents in February. The Cove squad of 17 from Farnborough, Hampshire, recently featured in a Barclays Bank TV advert on British television, and such is the interest in this relatively new sport that the English Football Association will be sending a camera crew to record the unique occasion.
Chris Wright, who introduced Walking Football to the Algarve only three months ago, met his UK counterpart Mick Quinn just prior to Christmas to prepare for this historic event.
Chris Wright said: “We have 46 players registered and an average turnout of between 20 and 30 every Thursday morning at the astro-turf pitch adjoining the SC Olhanense stadium.
We plan an exciting programme for our guests including a reception and dinner, Walking Football Tournament, FootGolf at the Colina Verde Golf & Sports Resort and an opportunity to watch the Olhanense v. Santa Clara (Azores) Second Division football match.”
The camera crew will include footage from the weekend in a documentary that has been commissioned by the English Football Association to promote the sport throughout the UK.
The health benefits of Walking Football – some participants are well into their 70s and early 80s – are tremendous and sports therapists and health professionals have given the sport their unconditional backing.
Sports therapist Mick Quinn, who will be leading the UK contingent, said: “My players are excited about their weekend in the Algarve and will be putting their best feet forward for what we believe is the first ever international event in Walking Football.”
Caption: Chris Wright (left) and Mick Quinn meet up at Bagshot (Surrey) to finalise arrangements for the first ever international Walking Football event