Football the biggest winner

BULAWAYO could soon play host to a cast of world football stars if plans by people behind Real Madrid and Barcelona legend Luis Figo’s surprise visit to the city last week bear fruit.

FORTUNE MBELE

Besides exploring investment opportunities in the mining sector, Figo expressed an interest in supporting Zimbabwean football, especially in Bulawayo.

“I am planning to come with (Lionel) Messi, Cristiano (Ronaldo), (Zinedine) Zidane and Raul for a charity match against the Warriors legends,” said South African businessman Gayton MacKenzie who brought Figo to Bulawayo on Thursday.

“This is a plan at an advanced stage and I will be returning next week to try and talk to Zifa.”

Southern Eye understands that McKenzie and his local partners are also planning a tournament that will feature two of the city’s Premier Soccer League teams – Highlanders and Chicken Inn – with the support of Figo.

The tournament will also feature two top teams from the Southern Region Division One league.

To spice up the event, world stars — active and retired — such as Figo, Real Madrid’s Ronaldo, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, former French captain Zinedine Zidane, England’s Andy Cole and others, would also be roped in to play a Bulawayo select.

Aspiring footballers from the city’s primary and secondary schools would also not be left out, if plans by McKenzie and his partners see the light of day.

Figo (41) jetted into the country on Thursday in the company of MacKenzie and some international footballers’ representatives.

The former Inter-Milan player — born Luis Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo on Friday told journalists at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport that he had made contact with local football administrators, indicating he was interested in helping Zimbabwe soccer.

McKenzie said he wanted the world football legends to play against Zimbabwe’s retired soccer stars in matches that would be staged in Bulawayo and Harare.

“I want them to play the Warriors or the Zimbabwean legends with one match being played here in Bulawayo and the other being played in Harare,” he said. “I will be here again next week to talk to Zifa.”

Figo has a charity — the Luis Figo Foundation established in 2003 — that supports youths throughout the world.

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