Don’t wish for a good body, work for it

The key to winning World Cups

Article by Andrew Threlfall 

If only you could bottle the formula. When Bobby Moore captained England to the biggest single winning achievement in the country that gave the world its most popular sport, association football aka the beautiful game, some of his teammates admitted to a 20 a day smoking habit. And Jimmy Greaves, who relinquished the centre forward role famously to hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst, was similarly afflicted with alcoholic tendencies.

Fast forward three or four generations and the appointment of Arsène Wenger by Arsenal FC. He pioneered advanced dietary and training regimes at Monaco and one by one the Premier League clubs, and clubs in the leagues below, started to copy the techniques of the Frenchman dubbed ‘Le Professor. Even the most old-fashioned stalwarts of the game like manager Ian Holloway decided that Queens Park Rangers would be enhanced by ballet and yoga classes. The club had previously worked with the English National Ballet and Holloway was an admirer.

And so to August 2019 and the West Indies T20 World Cup winning cricket captain Daren Sammy advocating a most Caribbean-based training method; Soca. Soca, not soccer, can be found up and down the country and heard most prominently this month at the Notting Hill carnival.

It’s too late now to signup to the world’s second biggest street party and dance alongside and on the floats, if nothing else due to the fact costumes sell out well in advance. However for the disappointed, a new event in the carnival diary has recently emerged, with the full endorsement of the West Indies cricket captain no less.

Founded by Andrea Wallace who is a WBFF Pro Athlete each August sees Addicted 2 Fitness stage their pre- carnival event The Soca Fitness Fete in central London. Andrea combines an infectious passion for fitness and a family relation to the greatest West Indian batsman of them all, Sir Vivian Richards, and has been running the event for the last three years. The format is a two hour aerobathon to get participants burning calories in a party environment. It comprises of different instructors teaching fitness/dance routines to music played by live artists, DJs and drummers. Sammy endorses the health benefits as a brilliant innovation.

The St Lucian, who has seen a lot of life and the world thanks to sport, which underpins his support for Soca. He sees the event, targeting a diverse range of people from city workers to new mothers, from fitness goers to gym haters, as a party for the human spirit and body.

Participants of all ages from 18 to 60 years old workout in a “two hour aerobathon for all levels” with a lounge at every event to include health and wellness vendors. There is also an area to drink herbal teas and a team of massage therapists offering complimentary sports massages.

Oddly Sammy has only been to the Notting Hill Carnival once before. He admits that timing, like many St Lucia natives, is not always his strong point. Even his OBE was a classic case of wrong place, wrong time. The first ever St Lucian captain of the West Indies (their international cricket stadium is named after him), he was scheduled to collect his award in person from Buckingham Palace however had already signed up for one of his wacky cricketing adventures which have taken him to non traditional cricket locations such as Toronto in Canada.

In the end the OBE had to be posted to him in the Caribbean, “but I am hopeful that on their next visit Prince Harry and Prince William might come by and say hi and maybe we can film a presentation. Harry has even led a cricket eleven out at ‘my’ stadium.”

Reflecting on England’s monumental triumph this month in what was considered to be the greatest match of all time Sammy has advice for a fellow international captain; “Eoin Morgan has earned the right to walk away from the game of cricket whenever he wants and on his terms. Sport is ruthless. Somebody just asked me if they thought it would be nice karma for New Zealand to win the next T20 after two successive World Cup final defeats but no way! I think the fact Morgan is Irish brought a lot of pressure captaining the England team but there is no room for sentiment.”

So where next for this most unconventional of modern cricketing heroes? “I am heading off to Toronto to play in temperatures even hotter than Dubai, which really surprised me. I love to feel like I am an ambassador for my island with my support. And I am also just for enjoying life, when sport can give you these opportunities to play in unusual places; I even want to play in Afghanistan one day if it becomes safe. The power of sport to put these countries on the map is immeasurable. But one thing that I won’t do is politics. I promised my mum never to get into politics!”

“I’ve met Rihanna and nobody represents The Caribbean in a more wonderful way than her. During the recent World Cup, held in England, the boys contacted me and said that she had been in the changing room. Can you imagine? I guess there is no one quite like Rihanna, unless of course it is Andrea up there on the stage teaching her Soca event and engaging with the masses. If you have ever seen her in her full carnival costume you would know what I mean.” riddle_stop 2

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