Takudzwa Chitsiga Harare Bureau
FORMER Zimbabwe Soccer Stars will have an opportunity to remind fans of the kind of stuff they were made of when they engage their counterparts from the around the continent next month.
Rarely do yesteryear stars come together to play in matches.
But thanks to a local company ICA Sports Consultancy, the country’s former Soccer Stars will face off against an All-Africa Stars side in back-to-back matches at Mandava and Rufaro on the weekend of February 26-28.
The event is expected to bring all the soccer star award winners from 1969 who are still alive and able to take part in the showcase.
The idea was brought about by ICA Sports Consultancy and the Soccer Legends Association who felt that the former soccer stars need to be honoured for the job they did in the game.
ICA Sports Consultancy director Julius Chakupehwa said they have already secured clearance by Zifa and the Premier Soccer League to stage the tournament.
“The purpose of the tournament is to fundraise for awards and welfare of the retired players. The first leg of the event will be held at Mandava and it’ll see FC Platinum play against Mufulila Wanderers of Zambia, as women legends play Zambia women legends while the big match of the day will see local former soccer stars play All-Africa Stars on February 26.
“The return leg of the fundraising tournament will be at Rufaro February 28 where Caps United will replace FC Platinum while the other teams engage each other,” said Chakupehwa.
The fundraising tourney that is being co-organised by the “legends” and ICA Sports Consultancy will see 60 percent of the proceeds going to the former players, most of them that are not leading a comfortable life due to a crisis of material and financial comfort.
Chakupehwa said the initiative was driven by welfare of some football veterans who are finding hard to survive and their livelihood should be a cause of concern.
“The tournament has been born upon the realisation that retired veteran players are unsung heroes and their achievements should be celebrated as they contributed a lot to the football fraternity.
“There’s a sad trend where former players only become coaches instead of administrators which if we put our heads together they can achieve that feat,” said Chakupehwa.
Zimbabwe Football Legends Association chairman Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa said they are happy with the proposed matches and were looking forward to a successful tournament.
“We’re happy to work with ICA Sports Consultancy in this initiative and it’s our hope that the event will be successful and will help some of our legends. Most of our members are finding it difficult to make the ends meet and such an initiative will help transform their welfare. I’m looking forward to a good three-day tournament,” Mtizwa said.
The event is expected to be graced by such former players like Nigerian pair Nwanko Kanu and Austin “Jay-Jay” Okocha, former Angola skipper Fabrice “Akwa’’ Maieco, Manuel “Tico-tico’’ Bucuane of (Mozambique) and Bafana Bafana legends Lucas Radebe and Doctor Khumalo.
According to the organisers of the matches, the locals who have already confirmed their participation include Charles Yohane, Kaitano Tembo, Elasto Kapohwezha, Peter Ndlovu and Stewart Murisa, who have all previously played in the South African Premiership.
The women’s side will have Rosemary Mugadza who attended the launch of the tournament.