No walk in the park

After playing for the England over-sixties team, Andy Munro becomes a dual international.

Walking football is apparently the new footballing rock and roll for the aged and infirm so when a Canadian mate of mine e mailed me to ask if I could play for Canada in an international tournament I thought “Why not?” I reckoned that I qualified as I have a cousin living in Vancouver, which should have met the spurious eligibility qualifications allowed these days.

Anyway, the main things about walking football are that there is no running(obviously), no slide tackling or heading , unfortunately the strong points of my limited footballing game. Still, it was an experience and a good discipline as the ball has to be passed to feet and the passer always has to keep on the move to be available for a return option. It was certainly energy-sapping over a series of games.

Throughout the day, we did well for a team that had just been introduced to each other. We drew nil-nil with the eventual winners (Scotland, but in effect ex-Ayr United players) and only lost twice over the whole day, and those by the odd goal. In fact one of those defeats came in the last minute in a 3-2 loss to Holland, and in that game I found myself marking a tall guy with what can only be described as a receding blond mullet. He turned me with some aplomb and scored within the first five minutes but then found chances limited as I showed him a version of good old sixties Nobby Styles-type tackling.

Strangely, and luckily for me, these were not penalised by the ref in the circumstances. Afterwards, I felt slightly better about things when I found out that his name was Kees Kist, who won the European Golden Boot in his prime and played for Holland in the 1978 World Cup. Apparently, they also had two other Dutch internationals in their team so our defeatalmost seemed like a moral victory.

Overall, a great experience – but no walk in the park!