Last year Gordon Powell, a member of Walking Football Spain (Marbella) tragically lost his life after suffering a heart-attack whilst attending a tournament hosted by East Algarve Walking Football in Olhão.
To honour his memory, a thirty strong group of EAWF players and their partners travelled to the Costa del Sol to compete against WFS Marbella, WFS Benalmadena, and WFS San Pedro.
This was the Algarve group’s first foray abroad, and it was fitting that the EAWF Tavira team should win the first game against WFS Benalmadena 2-1 with Steve Maddocks scoring the opening goal following good work by Henrik Misiorny and Mike Bristow.
The trip, organised by Jonathan Syed with support from his two trusty lieutenants Andy Smith and George Allen, was a resounding success with great bonhomie and camaraderie culminating with a surprise birthday party for Christine Wright on the final evening.
EAWF Olhão were the stars of the tournament, winning their opening game 3-1 against a strong Marbella team and going on to beat San Pedro. Goal scoring maestro Paolo Turni was on fire as he slotted home nine goals during the tournament.
The physical benefits of regular exercise for the older age group (some walking footballers are well into their 70s) are well documented, but the social benefits of Walking Football are proving to be vitally important in the psychological well-being of the thousands of those over 50 years of age now participating in the sport worldwide. Recently the Mature Millers (Rotherham) were the guests of East Algarve Walking Football in Olhão and one of their number was 72-year-old Tommy Charlton, the younger brother of Sir Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton, who last weekend featured in the first Walking Football International 65+ match between England and Italy at the Amex Stadium, Brighton, with the home side winning 3-0. Tommy pulled on the famous red shirt 52 years after his brothers lifted the World Cup after victory against West Germany at Wembley in July 1966.