Warren to call in witch doctor at threat of rain

FOOTBALL

Event director Jamie Warren hasn't quite called in the witch doctor yet, but joked he wouldn't be adverse to going to those lengths if wet weather threatens to spoil the biggest Johnny Warren Memorial Cup yet.

The reference was to Warren's long-held belief a Mozambique witch doctor had haunted the Socceroos after its players refused to pay the witch doctor for a curse he placed on Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) before a crucial 1970 World Cup qualifier.

Now in its 16th year, the Johnny Warren Memorial Cup has attracted 40 teams from across the state - including eight in the newly-organised over-45s section.

It's a comparable number to last year's line-up, which was denied a chance to wind back the clock due to the torrential rain.

"We were hoping for a dry year after last year and we might call in the witch doctors if it looks like raining, a la Johnny Warren with John Safran," Jamie Warren said.

"There's a good mix of local teams from around NSW and we've got one coming from Canberra as well. If we can maintain that every year it would suit the environment really well and suit the people really well."

The Johnny Warren Memorial Cup will kick-off in Jamberoo tonight with Georges River attempting to defend their title during finals action tomorrow afternoon.

Money raised during the weekend will go towards the Johnny Warren Football Foundation.

Old footballing friends of Johnny Warren's, including former Socceroo Craig Foster and a section of Sydney's Brazilian community, will head south for the weekend.

"We've got three Brazilian teams coming from Sydney," Jamie Warren said. "That connection is through Uncle John and he used to go quite often on a Sunday to Centennial Park to have a barbecue and a kick-around with these guys.

"The boys bring their drums and sing. It's quite a cultural shock for Jamberoo, but they love it."

Over 500 entries have been received for the 96-kilometre Johnny Warren Jamberoo Classic bike race from Loftus in Sydney's south to the Jamberoo Pub on Sunday morning.

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