|Benji, You Beauty|
|Saturday, 26 May 2012 00:00|
Grace Chingoma Sports Reporter
Nigerian striker Yakubu, one of the leading strikers in the English Premiership last season playing for relegated Blackburn
Rovers, also arrived in the capital yesterday.
Cote d’Ivoire defender Emmanuel Eboue, Democratic Republic of Congo’s Lomana Lua Lua, Pascal Chimbonda, former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe, Walid Bouzid, Odishe Amoateng and Nana Owusu Sechere jetted into country yesterday ahead of the high-profile match will pit Benjani’s friends and the Warriors.
It was quite a scene at the Harare International Airport as the South African Airways jet, which brought the first batch of Benjani’s friends, also had Nigerian artist Flavour and the Nigerian women’s national team, the Super Falcons.
The stars were met at the airport by Benjani and his son Junior as well as his long-time friend, Harlington Shereni, who was also assisting in welcoming the guests as they got into a fleet of Range Rovers to their hotels in preparation for the fund-raising dinner which was held last night.
And one thing was evident in the players that they were happy to be in Zimbabwe this weekend to support their friend and mixed and mingled with the airport staff and the fans who came out in their numbers.
Former Liverpool forward, Diouf, said it was his first time here, and had come to support his friend in his charity work.
His wife could not stop poking fun at Congolese international footballer, Lua Lua.
“I am so happy to come here, my husband goes everywhere for charity, but felt this is important to me as well as Benjy is a like a brother and his wife Thembi is my sister when we are in England,” said Vallery.
Fadiga, who is also one of Benjani’s closest friends as they played together at Auxerre in France, said they were together in the trenches and he was now here to help his friend wave goodbye and close a chapter on a good career.
“He is a great football player and is one of the biggest from my generation.
“I am happy to be here and it is my first time here as well. We are at home and Africa is my home and I am happy to come and pay respect to my friend Benjani.
“On June 15 we will have a match in Angola — Lua Lua friends and the Akwa Foundation to raise money for charity.
“You know Benjy is our brother and we are here to support him. It’s very important to make such kind of a gesture, so we are happy to come here and support.
Frenchman Chimbonda, who is teammates with Diouf at Doncaster Rovers in England, also weighed in and said he was looking forward to a great time in Zimbabwe.
His wife Lisa said she was also looking forward to see the way of life of Zimbabweans and hailed the players for being involved in charity work in their respective countries.
Yakubu praised the former Warriors captain, whom he described as a good person.
greatest African ambassadors and is also involved in a lot of charity work in South Africa, said they would be celebrating life of one of the African players who has excelled at the highest stage.
“It is a great achievement for Benjani and it’s a reunion for African players who played in Europe. He supported me in 2006 when I had my testimonial match.
“I am excited. It’s amazing to be here for Benjani. When someone like Benjani does this it doesn’t mean you cannot make it because you had a tough season, you have to sacrifice. It is my first time to be in Zimbabwe and I want to see how much of a beautiful place it is,” said Bouzid.