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Stars align for 'Football Extravaganza'

Published:Tuesday | January 1, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

A number of past national representatives, as well as entertainers and celebrities, will parade their football skills at today's annual New Year's Day Football Extravaganza at Buttercup Park, Mona, starting at 4 p.m.

The family event, organised by the Real Mona Football Club and Clive 'Busy' Campbell, will for the first time have a female component, when a female Masters team go up against the Dollard Nugent Dragons out of Montreal, Canada, in the curtain-raiser at 2:30 p.m.

Headliners on the Real Mona team include former FIFA referee Peter Prendergast, Gerry Murray, Howard McIntosh, Neo Oxford and Chris Williams.

Past national representatives

The Masters, Celebrities and Entertainers unit will include the likes of past national representatives Lincoln Taffe, Byron Earle, Marvin Chin, along with Kingston and St Andrew Football Association president, Rudolph Speid, national women's player Alicia James and former West Indies captain Courtney Walsh.

"This is a game to ring in the New Year because it has been going on for over 40 years and so we are going to continue on this path," said Campbell.

"We are expecting people to come out and enjoy the day's activities because it is a family day and the matches will be very exciting for the spectators," Campbell added.

Dragons, Masters to be contested

The match between the Dragons and the female Masters team will be contested in honour of Marvalyn Brown, who was a member of Jamaica's first female team. Brown died of cancer on May 14, 2012.

The local female Masters team will feature Andrea Lewis, one of the pioneers of women's football in Jamaica, June Cover-Simpson, Nicole 'Skillaci' Berwise, Taniesha 'Tootsie' Francis and two top female referees.

The Dragons' visit is a part of their annual humanitarian tour of Jamaica, as they aid persons in need, particularly those residing in St Thomas. Since last year, they have been donating items to the Princess Margaret Hospital, high schools in St Thomas and the local football fraternity in the parish.