The Sunday Mail
THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is on to something when they turn to sporting icons as part of their efforts to add some pizzazz to the drive to promote the country as a safe tourist destination.
Karikoga Kaseke and his team are not reinventing the wheel, nay, they are going down a path that is tried, tested and approved.
However, there is a real danger that their efforts will not bring the expected returns due to their failure to ignore the basics.
Last Wednesday’s clash between the Zimbabwe Legends and the World Class Legends, who included Fernando Morientes, Gianluca Zambrotta, Julio Baptista, Francesco Coco and Marcus Senna, could have been handled better.
KK and his team know it, we all know it, rather embarrassingly.
ZTA will try hard to spin it, they have a man for such missions in Godfrey Koti, but the empty sits at the National Sports Stadium testify of a venture which didn’t get the attention of the ordinary man.
Even with Dynamos and Highlanders featuring in a curtain raiser match and an entertainment line-up that included Winky D, the match didn’t get everyone talking.
And when such a disaster happens, there is need to go through the black box with a view of making it right the next time.
As one meticulously analyses the black box, they will most likely come to the conclusion that the timing of the event was awful.
Why during week when weekends are free hits with the Premier Soccer League on a mid-season break?
Having the match during the weekend would have certainly delivered a better crowd.
And why have such a gig during a time when the World Cup is underway?
Just as the legends were preparing to kick off in Harare, Portugal and Morocco were re-emerging at the Luzhniki Arena in Moscow, Russia, for the second half of their Group B World Cup clash.
The legends match competed for eyes with a World Cup clash that featured an African team and the man everybody wants to see, CR7.
It proved to be a no contest!
But the marketing of the game was poor at best.
There was some noise on Twitter before some videos started circulating on various social media platforms and airing on ZBC TV.
But there wasn’t the “bang in your eye” kind of marketing, just some build up stories that revealed that Zifa were not involved in the organization of the match.
Covering the basics means ZTA should have advised Zifa of their intentions to host the legends clash and get some useful pointers.
Zifa know the terrain and their input would have added some value, after all they pulled it off when the Barcelona Legends came through last year.Having Walter Magaya in the mix had the look of a last minute attempt to get the sons and daughters of the prophet at the NSS.
For the first time in a long time, Magaya played in a match that didn’t have thousands of PHD congregants cheering his every move, cursing anyone who tackles him.
During a match between the Zimpapers team and the PHD team last year, I played against Magaya and experienced first hand his pulling power.
Yes, he tugged my shirt a couple of times during tussles for possession at the Yadah Complex but that is not the pulling we are on about here.
We are talking about Magaya’s undoubted crowd pulling power which was surprisingly not on show at the NSS on Wednesday.
So did Magaya’s “children” know that their spiritual father would be in action?
Well, apparently not.
Magaya let the cat out of the back during PHD’s Wednesday night service.
“They called me last minute and said prophet we have a situation,” said Magaya as he told his church about his Match Day experience, which included a handshake with President Emerson Munangagwa and a converted penalty.
“When the legends came I didn’t see them but the organisers called and told me the situation.
“I said I usually don’t want to come without telling people at church but they said ‘no come, we need you.’ So I went and had a wonderful time. ”
In the aftermath of Wednesday’s not so inspiring show, ZTA need to take a closer look at their strategy and get some oomph into it.
They mean well but are not going about it very well.