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Kick off for Andy

PICTURED: Andy Achilleos-Sofroniou

IF YOU were ever looking for examples of courage and good team spirit, ‘Andy’s Wish to Walk’ Charity Under 12’s football tournament hosted by *‘Kickoff@3’ in partnership with Walworth Wanderers football club, held on Wednesday 25 October at Burgess Park in South London provided the perfect opportunity.

‘Andy’s Wish to Walk’ is a charity formed by the parents of 6 year old Andy Achilleos-Sofroniou who has Cerebral Palsy. Andy has been accepted as a candidate for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) which is an operation which will aim to improve the muscle stiffness in his legs.

This amazing tournament was organised by Kickoff@3 and Walworth Wanderers as the ethos of both organisations are centred around engaging and empowering young people. Hearing Andy’s story, they wanted to contribute to the fundraising efforts for his operation.

The participating teams from various London Boroughs were:
Area Best Sports Development (ABSD) – Two teams (U11’s and U12’s - Southwark)
East Walworth Wanderers (EWW) – Two teams (U11’s and U12’s - Southwark)
Pro Touch (Islington)
Suberbos (Barnet)

Each match was played for 15 minutes and the atmosphere throughout the day was one of competitive excitement. The spectators consisted of parents, family members, volunteers, community members and police officers who cheered for every goal but also spurred on every effort made.

The MetBPA and The Voice Newspaper were also in attendance to show support. Andy himself was present with his parents and big brother Chris - they even had a kick around with some of the players at lunchtime, which made the day even more poignant.

The Semi-finals were greatly anticipated, as two of the teams involved were from the same club and had gone onto the next stage as close favourites for a placing. The semi-finals teams were – ABSD U12’s vs EWW U12’s and ABSD U11’s vs Suberbos. Each team gave it their all but ABSD U12’s and Suberbos made it through to the finals.

Following the match for third place (which was won by ABSD U11’s) the finals were expected to be exciting and energetic – it did not disappoint. Each player gave it their all and although it was only 15 minutes, it felt longer as every spectator was on tenterhooks! Ultimately there could be only one winner. With a winning score of 2-0, it was...ABSD U12’s!

The presentations began with two of the players received notable trophies:
Player of the Tournament: Hikram Olaiya (ABSD U12’s)
ABSD U12’s Coach: Morlai Kamara
Team Player of the Tournament: Chanel Fowler (EWW U12’s) - Although Chanel was the only female player in the tournament, her drive, determination and camaraderie were a shining example to all.

Each player from the tournament was then congratulated by the special guest of the day Andy, alongside the Mayor of Southwark, Charlie Smith, who attended to show his support and present each player with an individual medal and the finalists with an additional individual trophy. The Mayor also gave some of the players a commemorative Southwark badge which proved to be very popular!

To round off the day in the best way possible, Andy and his ever supportive big brother Chris were also presented with a trophy – as we all know - every winner deserves one!

‘Kickoff@3’ is a youth initiative that began in April 2017 and was established by Michael Wallace and Ashley Levien. The main aims of this initiative are to establish and form relationships between young people and the police through football, while highlighting the causes of a range of charities.

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