Former Socceroos, Matilda greats, media journalists, celebrities and politicians will be amongst those lacing up their football boots and putting on their shin guards at AAMI Park this Saturday to participate in an Oz Football Aid charity match to raise funds and awareness for Rural Aid, as part of the bushfire recovery effort.
As well as the aforementioned, the two teams captained by former Socceroo and human rights advocate Craig Foster, and actor Anthony Lapaglia, will include some notable Greek Australians including Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Founder and CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis, Football Victoria CEO Peter Filopoulos, Football Victoria President Kimon Taliadoros, former A-League player Michael Theoklitos and former NSL player and current racing identity, Manny Gelagotis.
“I haven’t played a proper game of football in 30 years and I’m terrified but the cause is too important to say no,” Karapanagiotidis said on Facebook. “Come join me for a special game with a heap of former Socceroos and celebrities like Anthony La Paglia playing too.”
PFA Chief Executive John Didulica, who will also participate in the match, said:
“Uniting with the football community, particularly FFA, the Hyundai A-League, Hyundai itself and Melbourne City FC, demonstrates that football stands with those Australians who have suffered during this horrific period.
“Through our initial fundraising efforts, our members have demonstrated how affected they have been by the scenes across Australia so we are really thankful that past players and other prominent members of the community are using their profile to hopefully build on the generosity we have seen across the nation.”
The Charity match will be a curtain raiser to the A-League match of the round between second placed Melbourne City and third placed Perth Glory this Saturday, 25 January at AAMI Park.
The Charity match kicks off at 5.00 pm followed at 7.30 pm by the City v Glory game. Melbourne City will donate $2.00 to Rural Aid for each ticket sale to the two match event.
Former Socceroos participants will include Foster, Mark Bresciano, Josip Skoko, Alan Davidson, Sash Ognenovski and Josh Kennedy. Former Bahrain footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi, who was at the centre of an extradition battle last year, will also take part in the match.