Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
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 around the continent next month. Rarely do yesteryear stars come together to play in matches.
But thanks to a local company ICASA 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 ICASA Sports consultant and the Soccer Legends Association who felt that the former soccer stars need to be honoured for the job they did in the game.
ICASA Sports consultancy director Julius Chakupehwa said they have already secured clearance from ZIFA and the premier soccer League to stage the tournament.
“The purpose of the tournament is to fund-raise for welfare of the retired players. The first leg of the event will be held at Mandava and it will 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 on February 28 where CAPS United will replace FC Platinum while the other teams engage each other,” said Chakupehwa.
“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. 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.
“There is 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 are happy to work with ICASA Sports Consultancy in this initiative and it is our hope that the event will be successful and the programme will help some of our legends. Most of our members are finding it difficult to make end meets and such initiative will help transform their welfare.
“I am 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.