Vet­er­ans Foot­ball Tour­na­ment Launched

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By David R Pas­cal

Un­der the theme “Vet­er­ans…We Live On,” the 2016 Vet­er­ans Foot­ball Tour­na­ment was launched in grand style Wed­nes­day evening at San­dals Re­gency Golf Re­sort and Spa, La Toc.

The Tour­na­ment which of­fi­cially gets un­der­way Novem­ber 5 is once again be­ing pre­sented by Vet­er­ans in Sports Inc, with the main spon­sors be­ing Car­ib­bean Al­liance, FLOW, St Lu­cia Dis­tillers Lim­ited and Peter and Com­pany Dis­tri­bu­tion.

Af­ter Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies Claudius Fran­cis in­tro­duced the head table, CEO of Vet­er­ans in Sports Inc, Alvin Malaykhan de­liv­ered the wel­come re­marks. Re­fer­ring to the spon­sors and there are sev­eral on board for the sixth edi­tion of this tour­na­ment he said: “You be­lieve in our veteran foot­ball prod­uct, you make it hap­pen. Thank you for the con­fi­dence you have placed in our or­ga­ni­za­tion to cham­pion veteran’s foot­ball. We are tak­ing this veteran foot­ball to a new level and new heights.”

Malaykhan paid trib­ute to sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als who be­gan the jour­ney with him and shared the vi­sion of where they are to­day. He men­tioned Fabian “Bunny” Louis who started the jour­ney with him and shared the vi­sion, David “Shakes” Christo­pher and his Black­heart Pro­duc­tions team, spon­sors Car­ib­bean Al­liance and Flow, his right hand man and friend Gavin Niles and the late Brian McDon­ald.”

As far as this tour­na­ment goes, The CEO knows it may not be smooth sail­ing all the way. He said: “There will be times over the next few months, when we will won­der what we did wrong. There are times when we think we should have done things dif­fer­ently, like not re­in­stat­ing Lancers FC. We as organizers would be fool­ish if we did not re­al­ize that there will be other sit­u­a­tions and pres­sures, fi­nan­cial and other wise, that will af­fect our tour­na­ment.”

Malaykhan though is con­fi­dent that his team of work­ers have the heart and the vi­sion is to over­come any ob­sta­cle.

Fabian “Bunny” Louis went back in time re­liv­ing how this tour­na­ment started six years ago. Af­ter men­tion­ing prom­i­nent in­di­vid­u­als who were there at the be­gin­ning, he made spe­cial men­tion of the late Brian McDon­ald and asked that a minute of si­lence be ob­served, “for the vi­tal role he played in giv­ing this tour­na­ment the air play [Ra­dio St Lu­cia] and the im­por­tance it right fully de­served.”

Dur­ing his brief re­marks Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the St Lu­cia Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, Victor Reid spoke highly of this tour­na­ment, which ini­tially peo­ple re­garded as just some­thing for old guys who have noth­ing bet­ter to do.

“We [SLFA] saw it in a dif­fer­ent light,” said Reid. “We saw that veteran’s foot­ball pro­vided some level of con­ti­nu­ity for foot­ballers and for the com­mu­ni­ties. One of the sad­dest things for me, is that many foot­ballers at the age of 30 move out of foot­ball to­tally.”

He went on to say: “We see vet­er­ans foot­ball con­tribut­ing in a pos­i­tive way of keep­ing the vet­er­ans, the per­sons who have the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence in foot­ball, close to the com­mu­ni­ties, close to the teams.”

Min­is­ter for Equity, So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment, Le­nard Montoute, con­cen­trated on the health and fitness as­pect of play­ers when it came to this foot­ball tour­na­ment. He ex­pressed con­cern for foot­ballers who may not be in the best phys­i­cal con­di­tion.

Be­fore con­tin­u­ing on Montoute told the gath­er­ing: “I do not want this to be a health lec­ture,” but that’s ex­actly what it turned out to be, as he cau­tioned play­ers time and time again about their fitness level.

Six­teen teams are com­pet­ing in this year’s tour­na­ment which takes place from Novem­ber 5 to Jan­uary 29, 2017.

Of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the var­i­ous teams in this year’s Vet­er­ans Foot­ball Tour­na­ment at Wed­nes­day’s launch.

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