THE involvement of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya in the Warriors legends match against their Barcelona counterparts at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, has polarised opinion among football fans across the country.
BY HENRY MHARA
Magaya, who has been Zifa’s main sponsor in recent years, bailing out both the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors, was a guest player and was given a run in the second half of the thrilling exhibition match that ended 2-all.
He accommodated the two teams at his Yadah Hotel, using the facilities for their training sessions. In addition, he provided the two luxury buses that were used on match day.
Magaya proved a crowd favourite, with his every touch attracting wild cheers from the almost sell-out multitude, exhibited some deft touches, in particular his first touch of the ball – a racking pass across field with the outside of his boot.
But his involvement in the match triggered debate among football followers, most of whom took to social medial platforms to express their feelings.
On one corner were those who felt that Magaya had done wonders in supporting football development in the country and deserved the chance to rub shoulders with the Barca legends, while others believed he shouldn’t have been anywhere near the playing field.
One reader of NewsDay Sport using the name SaMutoko: “Magaya is not a legend, true. However, it is common practice globally that when legends play, they can feature one or two guest players. In this case, Magaya was a guest player.”
Another reader, who calls himself Soccer commented: “I am not a Magaya follower, but honestly he loves soccer and supports our national team efforts. Sometimes it’s important to appreciate what other people do for the good of others.”
“He made good touches plus it’s a game that was meant to entertain and celebrate football. His presence can’t be an issue. He has stood by the national team in hard times. I think he is a legend in his own right. The guy has done what many, including the government, have failed to do –that is bailing out the (Warriors) in their hour of need. Don’t just hate the man for no reason.
Magaya is soccer crazy. Zimbabweans, let’s not just be jealousy for no reason. Thumbs up to the man of God,” wrote Wasu. But there were those who were against the idea of Magaya featuring for the legends. They felt his role should be confined to sponsorship only.
“Is Magaya a legend? The match was for Warriors legends and not prophets. Money talks,” wrote Kundai.
“This was very unfair to us the supporters, we wanted to see legends, not boozers. Three deft touches cheered to by a paid crowd do not mean a thing. The organisers got it wrong. To me, the inclusion of this guy who contributed three fake touches is tantamount to a kickback in football and I strongly suspect that the Zifa crew are abusing Fifa funds as per the allegations which have been circulating of late,” Eliah commented.