THE 26th staging of the Bell/Ziadie Memorial Celebrity Charity Football Matches is expected to be bigger and better this year.
The annual exhibition aimed at servicing charities and which is held in honour of late Jamaican football stalwarts Winthorp 'Jackie' Bell and Dennis Ziadie will have a host of sponsors and will feature a Usain Bolt Eleven.
Other teams to participate on the Heroes Day, October 15, extravaganza at Winchester Park are Masters Eleven, St George's Invitational and a Celebrities Eleven.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Malvern Basic School in St Elizabeth, where the Bell/Ziadie charity fund had already initiated work.
This year's honorees are former football aficionados Peter Chevannes, Danny Hawthorne, Tony James and Delroy Garrison.
In addressing the press launch at Cuddy'z in New Kingston yesterday, 'Jackie' Bell's widow Lorna said her late husband and friend Ziadie "invested in the development of youth" and it is fitting that their names continue to be associated with the enhancement of young people.
Lorna Bell, who leads Jamaica's Special athletes movement in Jamaica, also made a call for the country to support the Reggae Boyz as they make a play for their second FIFA World Cup.
"Let's support Theodore Whitmore and the team because qualifying for the World Cup is what Jackie and Dennis would have wanted," she said.
Both 'Jackie' Bell and Ziadie, St George's College old boys, perished in a bus crash as they attended the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.
Mark Martin, sponsorship executive at main sponsor Digicel, noted that his company's support for football at every level remains significant and unwavering.
"It's another year
of partnerships and camaraderie, (therefore) Digicel will continue our support of football at the grassroots, schoolboy and Reggae Boyz levels. We are happy to be on board (of the Bell/Ziadie matches) again," he told the gathering of sponsors, journalists and varied football interests.
Another sponsor, the Jamaica Observer, through marketing officer Chenee Daley, hailed the charity initiative a "brilliant concept".
RJR Communications Group's senior marketing co-ordinator Anika Smith pledged her company's continuing support, having been by the side of the Clive 'Busy' Campbell-led effort since inception.
"Educating young people is important to us so we will continue the support as we have been on board from day one," she said.