TCIFA Welcomes English Touring Amateur Football Club, Middlesex Wanderers, For Hurricane Irma Solidarity Through Sport Tour
The origin of the Richmond Town Wanderers dates back to 1905. The Club was founded by two brothers, Bob and Horace Alaway, with a purpose of traveling to perform missionary work throughout Europe. In 1912 the club transitioned to the “Middlesex Wanderers Association Football Club” (MWAFC). They first travelled to the Caribbean Islands in 1960. Since its inception, MWAFC has toured over 50 countries, completing 113 tours, leading up to the “Turks & Caicos Islands Hurricane Irma Solidarity Through Sport Tour”, this past week.
The Turks & Caicos Islands was pummeled by category 5 Hurricane, Irma, on September 7th, 2017, followed by Hurricane Maria approximately a week later.The islands, especially South Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay, sustained significant damage to buildings, flooding, and blackouts. Nearly nine months has passed, and tremendous progress has been made to the country’s restoration. In wake of those Hurricanes and the damage inflicted, the MWAFC Executive Committee made a decision to tour and play the TCIFA teams as a show of support. The Chairman of the club, David Flint, had this to say: “ In the UK we saw the damage beam through our TVs, and as a sporting organization, we felt it right to show solidarity. As in the words of the great Nelson Mendela: Sport has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” He went on, “ The team has always been organized as a friendly based club, preferring to promote and enhance the ‘Corinthian’ principles of fair play and the ‘beautiful game’ rather than merely competition.”
The Club arrived on Sunday May 20, 2018 and the next day commenced their activities by conducting coaching clinics within the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association (TCIFA) Providenciales Youth Development Football Programme. These Clinics were sponsored , by the tour’s major partner, Aura Underwriting and involved the U9 coed, U11 coed and U13 girls groups. Aura Underwriting is a leading provider of property and liability insurance solutions throughout the Caribbean region.. Aura strongly believes and supports MWAFC three main objectives which emphasize promoting good fellowship amongst football clubs and other sporting organizations throughout the world, sending teams of British footballers on tours abroad, and playing occasional football games in the British Isles, all in the spirit of goodwill, and sportsmanship. MWAFC members continued to conduct coaching clinics throughout the week of May 21st-26th within the various age groups.
As part of the Club’s tour schedule, MWAFC took on both the TCI Senior Men’s Select Team and the TCI Men’s National Team in three football matches. With “The Alaway Cup” at stake, MWAFC fought good and hard. The Alaway Cup was introduced in 1952, and initially contested at the start of each season between MWAFC and a selected senior amateur side, and was reintroduced through the MWAFC Sport Tour initiative.
Tuesday May 22nd TCI Men’s Select Team vs. MWAFC 5-1
Thursday May 24th TCI Men’s National Team vs. MWAFC 7-2
Saturday May 26th TCI Men’s National Team vs. MWAFC 9-1
TCIFA’s President, Sonia Fulford, in commenting on the initiative opined that “ The initiative was one the TCIFA eagerly embraced as it provided competitive games for our Men’s National Team in advance of the upcoming Nations League. The humanitarian element and coaching aspect of the tour also benefitted the TCIFA as we seek to grow the game of football and create partnerships in the sport”