Walking Football Caribbean over 50’s Team triumphant at Winter Nations Cup Walking Football Tournament – Cardiff, Wales.
Team Caribbean participated in their second major tournament this year and were represented by two teams at over 50s and 60s levels, which makes the achievement even more notable as many of the other nations have been playing for years.
The Caribbean teams travelled up on Friday, 1st December and the tournament took part place on Saturday, 2nd December at the University of South Wales, Cardiff, Wales, in absolutely freezing conditions.
Braving the wintry conditions, the tournament got underway with the over 60’s team narrowly losing their first two games against England and Sweden, putting up good performances against Wales, but it wasn’t quite enough to progress.
The over 50’s were undoubtedly the outstanding team of the whole competition dropping just two points in their 1-1 draw with Sweden, 3-1 win against tournament favourites England, 4-0 win against Australia and 2-0 win against host country Wales. This over 50’s team across two tournaments have not been beaten in open play. Their only loss coming by way of penalties in the quarter final of the World Cup of Nations 2023. They have succeeded in putting the Caribbean as one of the world’s formidable forces in this fast-growing sport.
Kenny Dyer was the tournament top goal scorer with five goals and Mark Taylor, 50’s captain was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The Caribbean Islands were well represented by players in the UK diaspora originating from Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.
Speaking on behalf of the Walking Football Caribbean Management Team, Mike Adams, Head Coach said,
“We knew we were capable of this, and it has come incredibly early in our development. We have a flare and an energy that truly reflects our people and the Islands we originate from. Like the great West Indies cricket teams, we have come together to do battle and give us visibility in a sport where we are more than competitive, we’re the benchmark. The camaraderie has been there from the outset, and we can’t wait to spread this message to our community, here in the UK, the diaspora and at home in the Caribbean.”
The event was very well organised with nineteen nations taking part from across the globe. The health benefits and messages this sends cannot be overstated. The Caribbean 60’s had a 70-years young, Mike Stafford bringing his youthful energy which was infectious.
The playing of the National Anthems and greetings was particularly uplifting. As the Caribbean was multiple nations, a version of David Rudder’s ‘Rally Round the Flag’ was played.
The Caribbean Teams are most definitely the new kids on the block at Nations level of walking football and have already made big statements. Growing the game in the Caribbean Community amongst 40, 50, 60 and 70 somethings, both male and female is the goal. The physical, mental, and social health benefits are enormous, and Walking Football Caribbean want to champion that from the front. This is just the beginning.