Vol. 5 Num 272 Thu. March 03, 2005  

Tsunami Match
Oldies turn it on

A team of international veterans including 64-year-old former Chelsea keeper Peter Bonetti beat a largely youthful Indonesian side 4-3 in a friendly match to raise funds for tsunami victims.

Former Liverpool midfielder Mark Walters led the international team's victory by scoring a hattrick in the match held at Jakarta's 110,000-seat Bung Karno stadium.

The star however was former Bolivian striker Marco "El Diablo" Etcheverry, who despite extra weight displayed his trademark skills and scored the opener in the 16th minute.

The Indonesian side, consisting mainly of national players and a few veterans, wasted several chances, to the disappointment of the 20,000 home crowd.

Three former Southeast Asian stars -- Singapore's ex-skipper Fandi Ahmad, Thai striker Piyapong Pue-On and Zainal Abidin Hassan of Malaysia -- played briefly alongside the Indonesians.

Piyapong got one back for the local team when he volleyed the ball past keeper Bonetti in the 60th minute.

The match descended into comedy when former Liverpool captain Phil Neal, 54, fell unchallenged while pursuing the ball.

"I'm a granddaddy. I shouldn't be running around at my age. My kids should be looking after me," he joked afterwards.

Brazil former stars Carlos Dunga and Careca were among the 24 veterans who took part.

Proceeds from the event, dubbed Football Legends for Education, will go to educational funds for children orphaned by the tsunami in the hardest-hit Indonesian province of Aceh.

Walters likened devastation in Aceh to a scene from a war movie.

"It's difficult to comprehend the damage when you see it on TV. It looks bad, but when you are here, its much much worse.

"It reminds me of a few World War II films when they show you what it looks like after they had dropped the atomic bomb," an awed Walters said.

Organizers were expecting to raise about two billion rupiah (222,000 dollars) from the event.

The tsunami disaster left more than 290,000 people dead and missing, most of them in Aceh.