The 39th staging of the Bob Marley One Love football matches will be held on Ash Wednesday, February 26, at Harbour View Stadium.
But before the usual Ash Wednesday football festival in Jamaica, for the first time since 1982, there will be another leg of the football charity match, this time in Fort Lauderdale at the Ansi Recreational Park on February 16 at 4:30 pm.
In light of the 75th birthday anniversary of the reggae legend Bob Marley, conceptualiser of the event Clive “Busy” Campbell noted that for the first time patrons will enter free of cost.
“It will be free, no charge. Just like Shirley Caesar said, ‘no charge’. Persons can just come in drop something into the pan,” said Campbell.
This year’s honorees will be Anthony Fairclough, also known as Michigan from the dancehall duo Michigan and Smiley. The other person is Lloyd James, also known as King Jammy’s, a major producer of Jamaican music.
Mitzie Williams of the Bob Marley Foundation lauded Campbell for his undying efforts in keeping the legacy of Bob Marley alive since his death in 1981.
“Bob Marley to me is a lot about his heart and what is important to him. Everything Bob did he did it seriously. His passion turned into seriousness because he wants everything to go right. He wanted anything he was a part of to be good,” she added.
“Anybody who knows Bob knew how passionate he was about football. Busy always reminds us that Bob said that football is freedom and he was really serious about that because everywhere and anywhere Bob could play ball he was playing ball,” she added.
“I want to honour Busy Campbell because he is really like a football foot soldier that keeps things going, and to keep something alive for 39 years is no small order,” Williams said.
“So when Bob transitioned, Busy decided that he was going to do something for his friend and what Bob is all about. So the One Love football match is not just a football match with celebrities coming and giving us some exhibition, it’s really about celebrating who Bob was,” she added.
Meanwhile, president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts was on hand and he fully endorsed the event.
“This is no ordinary event, and I must recognise the work of Clive Campbell, and if we had one Busy in each of the 14 parishes, things would be a lot different,” said Ricketts.
He continued: “What he has done is so underrated because ‘Busy’ should be recognised with some [National honour] because of the work that he has done in the respective communities.”
General manager of Sports Development Foundation (SDF) Denzil Wilks, a longstanding sponsor of the event, said when it comes to Jamaica there is nothing that gets the country going like football.
“The SDF, as the name implies, is all about development and development comes in so many different forms,” said Wilks.
“I readily accept that for international success, track and field without any doubt, netball, but when it comes to really galvanising Jamaica, football is second to none,” he pointed out.
This year the participating teams are Media and Entertainers Invitational, All Rasta (Iritical), and Christian Ambassadors.
Over the years entertainers Chris Martin, Agent Sasco, Ward 21, Ibhomars, Tony Curtis, Lukie D, Nomadz, and Shortboss have participated. Sporting figures who have laced up for the event over the years are Usain Bolt, Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore, Ian “Pepe” Goodison, Jermaine Gonzales, Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner, Kevin “Pele” Wilson, Shavar Thomas and Nikita Miller.