If there is one thing many of the participating teams of the International Masters Football competition have in common it is the love for carnival vibes.
The just concluded 21st edition of the tournament at Wanderers Ground, the Mecca of masters football, attracted a number of teams from England and United States of America who told Barbados TODAY they looked forward most to rolling back the years of playing good football, socializing and having a grand time while drinking lots of Banks Beer who are the official title sponsor.
According to many of them this is the best-organized masters tournament in the world. However they would like to see a few changes being made and among these are additional sponsors and an improvement in outfields.
Pete Browning, a member of Cockney Rebels, said they have been to several international tournaments around the world in places such as Antigua, Arizona and Las Vegas but none beats the wonderful atmosphere each year they experience when visiting Barbados.
“The outfields aren’t the best but that goes with the island, it is so difficult to maintain, good outfields. We played other places where the pitches are much better but for carnival atmosphere, organization, just wonderful people, this is why we keep coming back,” Browning said.
This year the organizers attracted over three thousand persons at Wanderers and in so doing pumped an estimated $2 million dollars into the economy with hundreds of visitors to the island.
This year the English team Cockney Rebels switched from Over-40 to Over-50 and Browning was pleased with their efforts. He said they would continue to return and participate in memory of Stewart Dyer who originally formed the team previously know as British Airways.
Era, the reigning masters champions of Trinidad and Tobago, returned for their second outing in Barbados and one of the committee members, Rafer Ross, called for more sponsorship and the advertisement of sponsorship products around the Wanderers Ground where the final is held on an annual basis.
He said: “I think generally they need to bring more sponsors, we should see a little more visibility of sponsors around the ground. When sponsors come on board, it looks much bigger, it is much more attractive and it goes a long way when sponsors are on board.”
Meanwhile manager of the victorious over-40 Vincy team, Michael John, said the officiating could be a lot better and hoped to see that improvement being made for the 22nd edition next year when they return to defend their trophy.