Football ‘legends’ raising hope for recovering addicts

Some of the 'legends' gather after the last charity match.

Some of Cayman’s most prominent businessmen and politicians will lace up their football boots Monday to raise money for recovering drug and alcohol addicts in the latest in a series of charity “legends” matches.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson is slated to turn out for a West Bay selection against a visiting Bodden Town team that will feature Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden.

Also lining up in West Bay colors are Island Air owner Marcus Cumber and Arden “Cheeky” Rivers, one of the organizers of this month’s Cayman Airways Invitational youth tournament.

Suiting up alongside Mr. Bodden will be some of his local political rivals, including Mark Scotland, who preceded him as Sports Minister and Dwayne Seymour, both former legislators in the United Democratic Party. Those rivalries will be put to one side on Monday night, however, with local pride on the line.

The match starts at 7 p.m. at Ed Bush Stadium. Entry is free but donations and a raffle will be held in aid of the Hope for Today Foundation, a West Bay-based halfway house which helps addicts get their lives back on track.

Brent Hydes, who runs the foundation, will turn out for the West Bay side. He said the event, the latest in a series of matches, was raising awareness of the need for a communitywide response to the problems associated with drug addiction.

“It is about raising some funds for the Halfway house,” said Mr. Hydes, “and, most of all, highlighting the issues we have in the community with misuse of drugs and the consequences for our country in terms of crime and the breakdown of families.”

Some of the players on show Monday may have lost some of the pace and skill of their younger days, but there will be no shortage of competitive spirit on display, Mr. Hydes said.

Minister Bodden said he was hoping to roll back the years and relive his glory days as a midfield general for Bodden Town.

“We will be shaking off the cobwebs and dusting off the boots and giving a display of all the old skills and giving West Bay a good run. We are expecting to steal the spoils and bring the cup back to Bodden Town,” he said.

He urged the public, particularly Bodden Towners, to make the trip out to West Bay to support the old boys and contribute to a worthy cause.

Deputy Governor Manderson said he was hopeful the West Bay Legends, who lost twice to George Town earlier this year, could get their first win in the series.

“So far, I have played the last 10 minutes of each game but perhaps an earlier start might bring some luck,” Mr. Manderson said. “I commend the organizers of the football event. Not only as it brought some of us older folks back to playing football, but we are supporting an excellent cause.”

Mr. Hydes acknowledged that everybody wants to win “but the whole idea is for the old boys to come together, have some fun and raise some dollars for the halfway house,” he said.

“Most of all,” he added, “I want to highlight the importance of rehabilitation and the role we all have to play in dealing with this community issue. Cayman is going down a dangerous road in terms of drug addiction and the consequences and we appreciate the involvement of everyone who is taking part on Monday. It shows that everyone recognizes that this is all of our problem and we have to work together to deal with it.”

Mr. Hydes, who will take to the field himself, said he has been in training since his West Bay Legends suffered successive defeats at the hands of George Town earlier this year.

“I have to make sure it doesn’t happen again, against Bodden Town – then we are coming for revenge against George Town.”

West Bay MLA McKeeva Bush said his playing days were over, but he is sponsoring one of the trophies for the legends soccer series.

“Brent does an excellent job and anything I can do to support him and his foundation, I always try to do. He is helping people put their lives back together and he deserves our support,” Mr. Bush said.

The teams will compete for the Marcus Cumber Cup, with the second place team receiving the McKeeva Bush Community Shield.