Veterans Soccer set for a ‘Grueling’ Season

The Underlying Theme: Kick for a Cure is in Focus

By Reginald Andrew
Football facility at the SLSA

This season’s Veterans Inc. Football Tournament is scheduled to kick off on November 12 with an official launch of the ever increasing and popular ‘family-friendly’ competition.

However, prior to the main event, from November 5 to 6, players will participate in a mini-event ‘Kick for a Cure’, to be held at the Daren Sammy Cricket Grounds [DSCG].

At a press briefing, this week, management of the Veterans Inc. crew outlined the agenda for the upcoming event.

Most notably, the tagline “Kick for a Cure” ran true and featured prominently as respective speakers and sponsor representatives to the podium, all indicated their interest to support this worthy cause.

While acknowledging the perseverance and support from his team, CEO of Veterans In Sports, Alvin Malaykhan, told the gathering that the Vets Inc. crew remains “dedicated and committed to this execution”.

“We will continue to pride ourselves in being organisers of events that shape both the sport of football and the country, in a positive and meaningful way,” he said.

Malaykhan added, “We have not seen and played (against) each other in a while, therefore we do anticipate that this season will be full of fun, excitement, camaraderie and great competition.”

He noted that the ultimate goal is victory, and indeed “excellence …has been sustained.”

With players eager to get going post the COVID-19 crisis that temporarily halted the tournament, Vets Inc. team member Tennyson Glasgow, signaled that with younger players being drawn to the fold “we are in for a really grueling season …because we are going to see some new faces, and the younger guys are filled with enthusiasm.”

A representative from the St Lucia Cancer Society was elated with the Veterans Inc. input into the workload undertaken by the association. Some of the services provided by the SLCS includes; patient navigation, necessary accessories to patients, free wigs, breast prosthesis, and lip balms.

“This year, we are offering 100 women free mammograms, because mammograms is important …and you go for mammograms every year and it’s important to get checked,” said the SLCS rep.

The representative cautioned that men too can get breast cancer as males have “breast tissues…so men too, should be able to go and have a breast examination”. The SLCS also offers financial support to patients to enable them to undergo investigations on their medical conditions and subsequent treatment for diagnosed illnesses.

She reiterated that the Vets Inc. “were really doing a great thing, because the help you give us, we will be able to pass it on to people who need it.” A support group called ‘Pillars of Hope’ is an arm of the SLCS, and they provide support to “anybody with any kind of cancer”.

The SLCS also interacts with the schools as they feel it is important to sustain “healthy lifestyles”.

The SLCS representative added: “The St Lucia Cancer Society celebrates 40 years of dedication, hard work, advocacy and support …and this year we celebrate our 40th anniversary.”

Director of Sports, Jim Xavier was one of the featured speakers at the event. He noted that the ministry of youth development and sports is also keen on “developing healthy lifestyles …and the Veterans in Sports also falls under the healthy lifestyles program, and so we are committed to supporting this programme.”

Xavier appealed to the veterans’ players “to serve as role models to the younger generation, so by your action the younger persons can emulate you and we could really take football and sports to another level.”

Other corporate sponsors included; Courts Ready Cash, Sports St Lucia Inc. (SSLI), St Lucia Distillers and KFC.

Veterans in Sports Ambassador, Earl “Ballhog” Jean, a former national player and soccer professional expressed profound sentiments about the tournament, reiterating that, “Veterans (competition) is not just about the playing and winning tournaments …it’s about what we do to give back to Saint Lucia, what we give back to our communities and what we give back to our players.”

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