Veterans Football Tournament Launched
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.