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Barcelona visit will boost tourism

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In Thursday’s issue we reported that Spanish and European champions Barcelona may be coming to Zimbabwe for a football tourism trip.

While some people doubt that the Catalan giants will be coming to Zimbabwe, the truth of the matter is that something is brewing although the organisers understandably prefer to do things behind the scenes.

Apart from Barcelona, Ghana and former world champions Argentina are also on their way here. Ghana’s trip is as good as in the pocket. What remains is a formal announcement after the organisers speak to the domestic football custodians Zifa.

We don’t see why Barcelona will be a mammoth task to bring to the country after Brazil came here.

The South Americans were in the country in June last during their preparations for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. They played our Warriors and won 3-0.

The Brazilians’ visit came at a time when Zimbabwe’s economy was just getting out of the intensive care unit after a decade of ruin.

That we managed to host Brazil against all odds speaks volumes that Barcelona can also come here provided there is proper planning and unity of purpose.

The success of this project lies with Zifa and the organisers singing from the same hymn book for the benefit of our football and country.

While the country’s tourism will get a major boost, football authorities must view this venture as something that will market the game of football and a chance to take superstars like Lionel Messi to Muzarabani and Binga, thereby inspiring young kids who aspire to be like the global icon.

We hope that there will be no discord between the football custodians and organisers like what happened when Brazil toured.

This must be seen as an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on the world map as many soccer fans will obviously follow Messi and fellow superstars Xavi Hernandez, Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and Dani Alves, to mention just a few.

Who knows, popular singer Shakira might have a second bite of Zimbabwe if she decides to follow her boyfriend Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué. Shakira came here last year and visited Gonarezhou National Park.

Getting the big names to come to our country, especially popular football teams, is a shrewd business adventure with the potential to strategically restore Zimbabwe’s credibility and market it as a safe tourist destination.

It is the only way the world will view our country in different light. Zimbabwe is known for political violence, hunger and hyperinflation.

After more than 10 years of political upheaval and discord, this is the only way our country can be known for better things other than violence between political parties.

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