Sports

Football’s Biggest Party: International Masters Invitational

Image: A section of the audience at the official VISI launch at Sandals Halcyon. (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)

With less than 48 hours before the first whistle by the referee, Veterans In Sports Inc. (VISI) will stage one of Saint Lucia’s biggest parties in football, the International Masters Football Invitational where a combined total of over 800 footballers, family members and friends will converge on three venues to take in the showpiece with a tag line, “Be Inspired”.

The event was officially launched at Kelly’s Dockyard at Sandals Halycon last week by Veterans In Sports Inc. in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA).

A section of the audience at the official VISI launch at Sandals Halcyon. (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)

According to the organizers, VISI Matches will kick off on Saturday 8th June and will continue on Sunday 9th and Monday 10th from 11.00 a.m., with various teams competing on the hour until 5.00 p.m., at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG), the Gros Islet Playing Field (GIPF) and the Sab Playing Field (SPF).

Present at this special launch were former West Indies captain – Brian Lara; CEO Veterans In Sports Inc – Alvin Malaykhan; Former Saint Lucia football captain and international player – Earl Jean; Senior Marketing Manager SLTA- Jackie Mathurin; SLTA Marketing Manager Caribbean and Events (Caribcation) – Christopher Gustave; Public Relations Officer SLTA – Geraine Georges, sponsors, team representatives, and the media.

CEO of Veterans In Sports Inc., Alvin Malaykhan said, “As part of Saint Lucia’s 40th Independence celebration we are thrilled to be hosting the Saint Lucia International Masters Football Invitational under the theme “Be Inspired”. After eight years of hosting our annual National Veterans Football Tournament, we have attracted a great deal of regional and international attention. This has allowed us to hold Saint Lucia’s first ever International Veterans Football Invitational (IVFI) in June, 2016 involving the England National 45 and Over Veterans Football Teams and 767 Legends of Dominica. Additionally, in October of 2018, we played host to Era Masters of Trinidad and Tobago and the Island Masters Touring Team of Canada”.

This tournament is well underway, with pre- tournament matches having already been held at the Gros Islet Playing Field.

As part of the event, 28 teams will play 76 matches over a three day period. On show will be iconic regional players like Earl Jean, Titus Elva, Russel Latapy and Arnold Dwarika.

“We are expecting to relive one of the Caribbean’s biggest rivalries between two former international goal scoring champions, Earl Jean and Arnold Dwarika,” Malaykhan said.

Image: (L-R) Alvin Malaykhan - CEO Veterans in SportsInc., Brian Lara - Veterans Football Ambassador, Christopher Gustave - Marketing Manager for Caribbean and Events at the SLTA.(Photo: Anthony De Beauville)
(L-R) Alvin Malaykhan – CEO Veterans in SportsInc., Brian Lara – Veterans Football Ambassador, Christopher Gustave – Marketing Manager for Caribbean and Events at the SLTA.(Photo: Anthony De Beauville)

Also on show to exhibit their yesteryear talents will be Elijah Joseph, Alvin Xavier, Valencious Joseph, Leyton Sandiford and Trevor Cadet. The three day tournament is also expected to welcome the likes of Gary Glasgow, Stern John and Denis Lawrence, who scored the goal against Bahrain that awarded Trinidad and Tobago a ticket to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Former West Indies cricketer Brian Lara has been appointed Veterans’ Football Ambassador. Lara was enroute to England to support the West Indies cricket team currently participating in the ICC Cricket World Cup. In  addressing the audience Lara said, “Over the next couple of weeks hundreds of people are coming to play and watch football. They will be walking through your streets and will also want something from Saint Lucia. They will want to taste your culinary offerings and meet your people… it’s the reason I keep coming back.”

Marketing Manager for Caribbean and Events at the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Christopher Gustave said, “Sports tourism is a rapidly growing niche in the travel industry and Saint Lucia is becoming home to several international and regional sporting initiatives”.

Participating teams in the 40 Plus Category

Group A: Era Masters – Trinidad and Tobago; Real Ole Men – Grenada; SLU Metals; Central Vieux Fort; Marchand Veterans and Mon Repos Sharks.

Group B: X-Men, Trinidad and Tobago; Micoud Veterans; VSADC; All Blacks- Dennery; Nature Boys, Dominica.

Group C: Pele Masters, USA; Flow Lancers FC; Soufriere Veterans; Valley legends; Anse La Raye Combined.

Group D: Sunday Krew, Trinidad and Tobago; Gros Islet Veterans; Labowee Connexions; Choiseul Veterans; Caricom Masters.

50 and Over

Group A: X- Men – Trinidad and Tobago; Vieux fort South; All Blacks – Dennery; Caricom Masters.

Group B: Pele Masters – USA; VSADC; Gros Islet Veterans; Marchand Veterans.

A total of 15 games are on the cards on Day 1 in the 40 Plus category at the DSCG from 11.00 a.m. Sunday Krew versus Choiseul Veterans and Pele Masters versus Valley Legends. Also at 11.00 a.m., this time at the GIPL,  X-Men will play All Blacks.

Still in the 40 Plus category, five games will take place at the Gros Islet Playing Field (GIPF) from 11.00 a.m. X-Men will play All Blacks Micoud Veterans will play VSADC at 12.00 noon; Valley Legends take on Anse La Raye Combined at 1.00 p.m., while Gros Islet Veterans go up against Caricom Masters at 2.00 p.m. Micoud Veterans play Nature Boys at 3.00 p.m.

In the 50 Plus category, six matches are scheduled for the Sab Playing Field. From 11.00 a.m. Marchand Veterans play VSADC, while Gros Islet Veterans take on Pele Masters at 12.00 noon. It’s X-Men versus All Blacks at 1.00 p.m., and Caricom Masters against Vieux Fort South at 2.00 p.m. Still in 50 plus, Marchand Veterans will come up against Gros Islet Veterans at 3.00 p.m. and to bring the curtains down on Day 1, X-Men will fancy their chances against Caricom Masters at 4.00 p.m.

A number of prizes are up for grabs; the champion team in the 40+ category will win US $3,500.00, a trophy and gold medals, while the campion team in 50+ category will collect US $2,500.00, a trophy and gold medals.

Marketing Manager for Caribbean and Events at the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Christopher Gustave said, “Sports tourism is a rapidly growing niche in the travel industry and Saint Lucia is becoming home to several international and regional sporting initiatives”.

Participating teams in the 40 Plus Category

Group A: Era Masters – Trinidad and Tobago; Real Ole Men – Grenada; SLU Metals; Central Vieux Fort; Marchand Veterans and Mon Repos Sharks.

Group B: X-Men, Trinidad and Tobago; Micoud Veterans; VSADC; All Blacks- Dennery; Nature Boys, Dominica.

Group C: Pele Masters, USA; Flow Lancers FC; Soufriere Veterans; Valley legends; Anse la Raye Combined.

Group D: Sunday Krew, Trinidad and Tobago; Gros Islet Veterans; Labowee Connexions; Choiseul Veterans; Caricom Masters.

50 and Over

Group A: X- Men – Trinidad and Tobago; Vieux fort South; All Blacks – Dennery; Caricom Masters.

Group B: Pele Masters – USA; VSADC; Gros Islet Veterans; Marchand Veterans.

A total of 15 games are on the cards on Day 1 in the 40 Plus category at the DSCG from 11.00 a.m. Sunday Krew versus Choiseul Veterans and Pele Masters versus Valley Legends. Also at 11.00 a.m., this time at the GIPL,  X-Men will play All Blacks.

Still in the 40 Plus category, five games will take place at the Gros Islet Playing Field (GIPF) from 11.00 a.m. X-Men will play All Blacks Micoud Veterans will play VSADC at 12.00 noon; Valley Legends take on Anse la Raye Combined at 1.00 p.m., while Gros Islet Veterans go up against Caricom Masters at 2.00 p.m. Micoud Veterans play Nature Boys at 3.00 p.m.

In the 50 Plus category, six matches are scheduled for the Sab Playing Field. From 11.00 a.m. Marchand Veterans play VSADC, while Gros Islet Veterans take on Pele Masters at 12.00 noon. It’s X-Men versus All Blacks at 1.00 p.m., and Caricom Masters against Vieux Fort South at 2.00 p.m. Still in 50 plus, Marchand Veterans will come up against Gros Islet Veterans at 3.00 p.m. and to bring the curtains down on Day 1, X-Men will fancy their chances against Caricom Masters at 4.00 p.m.

A number of prizes are up for grabs; the champion team in the 40+ category will win US $3,500.00, a trophy and gold medals, while the campion team in 50+ category will collect US $2,500.00, a trophy and gold medals.

Anthony De Beauville is The VOICE Publishing Company’s multi-award winning sports journalist. He works closely with a number of sports federations including the Department of Youth Development and Sports, the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee and other organizations.

He covers and contributes articles highlighting the areas of international, regional, national, community based clubs and schools sporting activities. There is never an off day as he stays busy... Read full bio...

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