Community, teamwork and health. These are the main ingredients of Walking Football, a version of the beautiful game which enables people over 50 to keep on enjoying sport while pulling on the jeresey of their beloved club.
Athletic Club Fundazioa’s team achieved a well-deserved second place in the first European championship, held in Breda, and organised by the European Football for Development Network. It was German outfit Schalke 04 who beat the Lions in the final.
The first phase of the competition confirmed what was sensed during the training camp. Confident in the level of the team, Athletic easily overcame Glasgow Rangers, Eintracht Frankfurt and host side NAC Breda in the first group stage.
The Bilbao-based outfit qualified for the second group stage, where they faced Club Brugge, SL Benfica and Schalke 04. Two wins and one loss saw the Lions go through to the final. However, the final hurdle came against Schakle 04, the only side who had been able to beat Athletic in the prior rounds. The Germans once again proved to be tough opposition and with a solitary goal they won the title.
Despite the final result, the prize-giving ceremony was an example of what this competition is all about. Friendship, respect and celebration. Breda is the beginning of a beautiful story for Walking Football, a sport which has now crossed borders.