AN annual charity match in memory of a popular South Tyneside sportsman is set to provide a feast of football at the weekend.
Friends and loved ones are preparing to battle it out for the Jamal Bouzid Memorial Cup.
The trophy is in honour of the 21-year-old, from Horsley Hill, South Shields, who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) in April 2011 after collapsing in the street on his way home from a football match.
Shortly after his death, pals decided that an annual game would be a fitting way to remember the popular South Tyneside Homes employee, who played for Vets ReUnited and Shields United.
Regulars at the Last Orders pub in Stanley Street, South Shields, clubbed together to buy the cup as a tribute to the former Harton Technology School student, who played as either a left-sided midfielder, or at left-back.
This year’s match will be taking place at Filtrona Park in Shaftesbury Avenue, South Shields, on Sunday. Organisers hope to raise money on the day for research into SADS.
The Vets will be squaring up to the Riverside – formerly the Grey Hen and New Crown teams – with a 10.30am kick-off.
However, Jamal’s former Vets teammates are determined to claim the cup back after they lost it to the Grey Hen in a 5-4 defeat last year.
Vets goalkeeper Simon Parkin, 39, from West Harton, South Shields, said: “We hope as many people can come along as possible to add to the atmosphere and to make Jamal proud.
“We also want to try to raise as much cash as we can.”
He added: “We are also looking for revenge after we lost the trophy last season in a nine-goal thriller, eventually going down 5-4 to the Grey Hen after leading 3-0 at one point!
“All the players and staff were gutted that we lost, and we will be going all out to reclaim the trophy, but so will the Riverside, so a full-blooded encounter is on the cards.”
In addition to the match, there will be a barbecue and entertainment, and Newcastle Ladies will play Middlesbrough Ladies at 2pm.
The event will continue into the evening, with karaoke and a live band inside the clubhouse.
Jamal’s mam Dawn Bouzid, 46, from Horsley Hill, will be on hand to present the winning team with the trophy.