THE much-hyped exhibition match pitting the Zimbabwe legends against their Barcelona counterparts spearheaded by former world footballer of the year, Brazilian Rivaldo, Dutch legends Patrick Kluivert and Edgar Davids exceeded expectations, attracting a near-capacity crowd at the National Sports Stadium last Sunday.
Coached by Sunday Chidzambwa, who was being assisted by Rahman Gumbo and David “Yogi” Mandigora, the Zimbabwe legends needed brilliant strikes by Zenzo Moyo and Edward Sadomba to salvage a two-all draw in the match.
A first of its kind, the event reflected how the former players are ready to serve local football whenever they are called upon.
With the likes of Benjani Mwaruwari, Peter Ndlovu, Tinashe Nengomasha, the Mugeyi twins William and Wilfred, Innocent Chikoya, Edelbert Dinha heeding the call to come to serve the country one more time, exhibition matches of this nature could became a regular occurrence.
The Sports Hub spoke to some of the legends about their experiences on the day. Generally, they expressed interest to have more games in the mould of Zimbabwe legends matches.
It was amazing to have such a big crowd. It should be done more often for the good of football in our country because former players are relevant to Zimbabwean football, as evidenced by today’s [sunday’s] match. Passing the ball is what I do, so it’s not surprising for me when I do that. Passing, creating goals and those turns come naturally for me and it was great having to entertain a full house that afternoon.
It brings back the good old memories when we used to fill the stadia. Hopefully, the youngsters can see and emulate what we did because they always utter nonsense sometimes, that we were not that good, but today we showed them what we are made of. I think we are going to meet every year. My performance was not my best because the doctors said I have to be careful and warned me not to play so I just played at my own risk.
Just looking at the turnout, it shows that people who were playing today are loved in Zimbabwe football. I think it’s a start for us because this is a great initiative and should be done yearly so that we can always get together and come up with ways to improve Zimbabwe football.
I want to thank the organisers who helped us as former players to meet because we are now sharing ideas on the direction of Zimbabwean football. Having a team like Barcelona coming to play gave us a different dimension of football. You saw how they were keeping the ball and we need also to be doing that in Zimbabwe. It also helped us as coaches to see the different formations they were using and learn how we can help our footballers.