The Sunday Mail
BARCELONA legend Patrick Kluivert arrived in Zimbabwe Friday, alongside former Real Madrid star Julio Baptista and the duo watched the epic World Cup Group B match between Portugal and Spain at Harare hotel.
Kluivert and Baptista, who both featured for their countries Netherlands and Brazil during their peak, are in Harare for the World Class Legends match against the Zimbabwe Legends set for the National Sports next Wednesday.
Also expected to be part of the World Legends team are 2006 World Cup winner with Italy Gianluca Zambrotta, former Brazil national team player Edmilson and Villareal legend Marco Senna.
The exhibition match, which is aimed at promoting tourism in Zimbabwe, is being organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Sports ministry.
ZTA chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke confirmed Wednesday’s match at a press briefing held on Friday.
“This football match is a marketing approach to market our tourism,” said Kaseke.
“We are marketing Zimbabwe as a business destination, Zimbabwe as an investment destination, Zimbabwe as a tourism destination,” the ZTA chief said.
The world football legends will tour Victoria Falls on Sunday.
Their representative, Rico Garcia, also confirmed the match and said his organization would also use the exhibition encounter to market Zimbabwe.
“We are going to do a documentary, put it on television in Europe to show the people that this (Zimbabwe) is a safe place to come,” said Garcia.
“We will have Zambrotta, World Cup winner with Italy, Edmilson, Marcos Senna, Fernando Morientes and more are coming. We are going to have more surprises.
“It was difficult to make this list, most of the players are at the World Cup. My idea is to promote the country to the rest of the world, especially Europe,” said Garcia.
Some of the world football legends who were expected to play are former Brazil legendary left back Roberto Carlos, former Arsenal star Robert Pires and former African Footballer of the Year, Austin “Jay” Okocha.
Some of the Zimbabwean legends expected to feature in the match are Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa, Moses Chunga and Harrington Shereni.
Local football supporters including Chris “Romario” Musekiwa were also at the official launch. Renowned traditional healer and herbalist Kamwelo Banda, who is popularly known as Sekuru Banda, was a surprise guest at the event.