Photo: Dunga, Viola, Edmilson and Ze Carlos at the "Share the Love Tour" press conference at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Thursday.
On Friday March 3, 2017, Reggae meets Samba and all roads lead to the National Stadium. Ballaz International has pulled off the unthinkable by showcasing some of Brazil's biggest names and some of Jamaica's biggest names in world football in a friendly match beginning at 7:30 pm.
Ballaz International in collaboration with the Whole Life Sports Ministry 'Share the Love Tour' which is a spin off the the exciting tour of love around the world with these iconic football legend. They have successfully travelled to Kenya, South Africa, Japan, Fiji to name a few. The Jamaican leg of the tour comprises of a football clinic for youths at Breezy Castle on Saturday March 4th, ground breaking of a future site for a state of the art Astro Turf in the community of Southside, a tour of the community with the players and a church service on Sunday to culminate the activities, with the theme 'His timing, His glory, His way.'
Director of Ballaz International, Andre Virtue a former Jamaica College player said, "The tour is designed simply to share the Love of Christ with a focus on community development through the use of football as a tool of engagement and we believe this is the perfect match for such a tour of it's kind."
The two countries share a lot, both in culture and sports. In fact the first and only time Jamaica has been to the World Cup finals they were coached by the Brazilian Rene Simoes. Many persons in Brazil are still talking about Usain Bolt's exploits in Rio Olympics, while back home persons are talking about the nutmeg/salad Allan 'Skill' Cole gave Pele when the two met in the 70's. So close are the two countries one won't know who is supporting who because everywhere will be painted in yellow and green, the two countries national colors.
Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri commonly known as Dunga is a football manager and former professional footballer. Under Dunga's captaincy, Brazil went on to win the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Along with Xavi, he is one of only two men to have played in a World Cup, Olympic Games, Confederations Cup and Continental Championship final. Dunga stated at the press conference that his career started here in Jamaica on his first visit to the island in 1982.
Former São Paulo, Lyon, FC Barcelona and World Cup winner José Edmílson Gomes de Moraes better known as Edmílson said, "Here feels like home." Listed among the top 100 greatest living players, World Cup winner, former FIFA World Player of the Year and former Barcelona hitman, Rivaldo said "I would love to score to do a dance." Viola, Ze Carlos along with the aforementioned players and several other less popular Brazilian players will set the stadium alive.
Since Jamaica's historic World Cup campaign in 1998, Jamaica has yet to field another unit equally as good or better than the likes of Ricardo 'Bibi' Gardner, Ian 'Pepe' Goodison, Walter 'Blacka Pearl' Boyd, Fabian 'fabulous' Davis, Andy 'Bomber' Williams, Christopher Dawes, Hector Wright, Theodore 'tappa' Wittmore Gregory Messam and a few others of that golden generation.
Included in the mix are a few upcoming stars from Manning and Dacosta Cup teams. Alex Marshall, Gregory Messam Jr., Malik Powell, Jah Hinds and Christopher Randoll will be a part of the spectacle. The Jamaican team will be coached by Lenny Hyde and Miguel Coley. This, the meet organizer Andre Virtue hopes will motivate the youngsters to push forward in their career as professional players.
Virtue went on further to express how he too was motivated by the 1982 visit. "I remember when I was younger, Socrates and the Brazilian team came here and it was a motivation for me. I got my autograph. It does something to inspire you when you can touch and see them with your own eyes, not just on TV, and I think this is exposure. The more our people can see it here, just like how we can see Usain Bolt and say I can be that person, we need to do that for all sports if we can do that."
"It's sharing the love and that's what we want to do. It's about unity, the sport can be more than just about winning games, we can also change communities," added Virtue.
Tickets for the bleachers section will cost $1,500, with grandstand tickets going for $3,500 and $4,500.
These can be purchased at the Knutsford Court hotel, York pharmacy, Total gas station in New Kingston, Coochi-annas (New Kingston Shopping Centre), 876 Legends in Montego Bay, and Phoenix Fuels in Portmore.