photo: contributed

Kelowna v. Mexico soccer match a success

For the second year in a row, Kelowna went to Mexico to take on Ixtapa and Zihuantanejo, Mexico

Soccer players from the Okanagan returned to Mexico for a week of sun, sand and old-timer soccer.

This was the second time the men played in the 60-years and over category in Ixtapa and Zihuantanejo, Mexico.

The Canadian team played two games, one Jan.29 where they tied, 5-5 the match against players from Zihuatanejo’s Over 60 League. In the second game, Feb. 1 the Canadian’s lost their second game 4-3.

All three Canadian goals in the last game were scored by striker Ben Voss from West Kelowna.

The games started off in grand fashion with the Canadians being welcomed by the Zihuatanejo mayor, the Mexican players, the organizers, and by the playing of both national anthems.

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During the games the players were cheered on by their wives, a few tourists and 50 children who were in attendance to receive soccer shoes and balls purchased with donations from the Canadian team’s families and friends. In recognition of their efforts.

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The Canadian ladies were given the opportunity to hand out the boots to the underprivileged youth, many of who had lost their homes and belongings in a fire which had swept through the town a few months before. The kids then started a game of their own with their new soccer shoes, on a field adjacent to the one that the old-timers were playing on.

A certificate of recognition and thanks was provided by the Mexican organizers to Phyllis Paine and Ian Paine from Kelowna, for her efforts last year in starting the money raising campaign for the poor kids of the area.

Organizers are already busy planning another event for next year, and the Mexicans are organizing a visit to Kelowna in September.

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